Service and Wider Societal Costs of Very Young Children with Autism in the UK Academic Article uri icon


  • Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are associated with a substantial economic burden, but there is little evidence of the costs in the early years; the period in which children are increasingly likely to be diagnosed. We describe the services used by 152 children aged 24-60 months with autism, report family out-of-pocket expenses and productivity losses, and explore the relationship between family characteristics and costs. Children received a wide range of hospital and community services including relatively high levels of contact with speech and language therapists and paediatricians. Total service costs varied greatly (mean £430 per month; range £53 to £1,116), with some families receiving little statutory support. Higher costs were associated with increasing age and symptom severity.


  • Macdonald, Wendy
  • Barrett, Barbara
  • Byford, Sarah
  • Sharac, Jessica
  • Hudry, Kristelle
  • Leadbitter, Kathy
  • Temple, Kathryn
  • Aldred, Catherine
  • Slonims, Vicky
  • Green, Jonathan

publication date

  • May 2012