On Dec. 15, Easter Seals and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) released a new study, Living with Autism, which examines the significant challenges faced by families living with autism. Not surprisingly, parents of children with autism are struggling with a host of worries that impact every aspect of their lives, and are particularly fearful that their family will lack the life-long supports needed to address the serious nature of autism.
The study, which surveyed 1,652 parents of children with autism and 917 parents of typically developing children, identified both short-term and long-term challenges. For example, only 18% of parents of children who have autism feel their children currently have health insurance that adequately covers their needs (compared to 42% of typical parents). In terms of employment, only 24% of teenagers with autism have looked for a job (compared to 77% of their typically developing peers). And 76% of parents of children with autism are concerned about their child's future employment, whereas only 35% of typical parents share this fear. Living arrangements during adulthood are also a concern. 79% of children with autism are more likely to still be living at home beyond age 18 (compared to 32% of typically developing children).
This study points to the growing public health crisis autism has produced, with millions of families desperate for solutions and resources. Autism Speaks applauds Easter Seals and its partners for conducting this important study and highlighting the growing need to improve the current systems, structures and resources required by the autism community.
Click here to read coverage of the study from The Chicago Tribune.