A nationwide survey of 1,000 parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages 10 years or younger found that on average, there is at least a 15-month delay between the time parents first suspected a developmental issue and the onset of treatment. Such delays result in lost treatment opportunity which can negatively affect a child’s overall development.
Additionally, the survey—commissioned by Centria Autism, a national provider of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy—found that 32 percent of parents who had sought treatment for their child were told their child would outgrow it, further delaying access to instrumental treatment.
As of 2018, an estimated 1 in 59 children have been identified with ASD. Of the 3.8 million children born in the U.S. in 2017, between 65,000 and 70,000 are expected to meet the diagnostic criteria for ASD in 2019.
The inaugural survey, called the Centria Autism Barometer, also exposed unmet needs in providing evidence-based approaches and treatment for children with ASD, parental concern surrounding how others view their child, and the impact on a parent’s career and personal life. Additional key findings include:
- Eight medical visits to diagnose: Parents reported taking an average of 8.3 medical visits before their child was officially diagnosed, with more than half of parents (57 percent) noting that the diagnosis process was difficult, and 84 percent saying it was stressful.
- Overwhelming concern on how society treats & views ASD children: 92 percent of parents who have children with ASD are concerned with how other children treat their child. 84 percent are concerned about how the public views their child, and 80 percent are concerned with how teachers treat their child.
- Autism therapy is like having an extra part-time job for parents: On average, parents spend 20 hours a week on their child’s ASD treatment, and 86 percent wish there were a person they could turn to help them coordinate their child’s treatment and care.