Understanding the Effects of Autism

As a behavioral health condition across many communities, autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is becoming increasingly common as the CDC reports numbers are on the rise. Of the 3.8 million children born in the US in 2018, between 65,000 and 70,000 will meet the diagnostic criteria for autism in 2019. With autism affecting more families in 2019, more parents will seek resources to help them make difficult decisions regarding their children’s treatments and therapy, which are crucial elements to a child’s long-term success when living with ASD.

To better understand the challenges and how best to support families, Centria Autism, a leading national provider of therapy based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for children with ASD and their families, has released a new survey conducted by Wakefield Research, to better understand the everyday challenges that families with children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face.

The key findings of the survey include the following:

  • Nearly all parents (99%) think early intervention is important for treating children with ASD.
  • However, on average, parents first suspected their child had autism at the age of 2.8 years, but children were not diagnosed until 3.8 years with many parents attributing the delay to time spent searching for information as they did not know where to go for diagnosis.
  • Then, on average there is a 3-month delay between diagnosis and treatment; meaning, on average there is a 15-month period where a child with ASD could be getting treatment.
  • Although more than 7 out of 10 parents received referrals to therapists[iii] while trying to get their child diagnosed, 55% encountered issues, with 32% being told their child would “grow out of it.”
  • Parents reported it taking an average of 8.3 medical visits before their child was officially diagnosed with more than half of parents (57%) noting that the diagnosis process was difficult, and 84% saying it was stressful.
  • Once diagnosed with ASD, over a third of parents (35%) noted difficulties in learning about treatment options, with the most common barriers being insurance coverage issues (41%), long wait lists (43%), and difficulty finding a therapist (38%).