Suffering from a disease or injury can change one's lifestyle, so much so that they may have to rely on Social Security disability benefits to get by. Parents of children with such difficulties, too, sometimes struggle with the financial burden. A good example is the mothers of autistic children.
According to a Reuters article, families with autistic children typically make $18,000 less per year than families with children with normal development. It's believed that the main reason for that is mothers who decide to stay home from work or are working fewer hours.
The data is based on information collected in a study. Data from household surveys conducted between 2002 and 2008 was used. Surveyed families included 64,000 children without health problems and 261 children with autism.
The study found that fathers of autistic children were just as like to be employed and making the same wages as other dads. But the same was not true for mothers.
One thing is clear: The lack of money can be a real problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the U.S. autism spectrum disorders affect approximately one child out of every 110. The children need more care than the average child, which can be time-consuming and costly. Over a lifetime the additional care could cost as much as $3.2 million.
According to Reuters, one researcher says that the government should figure out a way to help these families get assistance and maintain a good work family balance.
Source: Reuters, "Moms of autistic children work less, earn less," Frederik Joelving, March 19, 2012
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