Epilepsy Talk

Autism — Who Has It? | August 29, 2015

The autism rate has increased — 1 in 68 kids are now identified with the disorder.

The information that a child has been diagnosed with autism often throws parents into an emotional tailspin.

A study from a University of Missouri researcher says most people don’t immediately consider the major financial struggles that follow.

Deanna Sharpe, associate professor of personal financial planning in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences suggests more outreach is needed to help families plan and cope with the profound financial life changes they may face.

And it’s no wonder why. Simply consider the staggering costs…

A study, published in JAMA Pediatrics and funded by the nonprofit Autism Speaks, suggests that autism’s financial toll on individuals, families and society as a whole is “much higher than previously suggested,” and includes direct medical, educational and residential costs, as well as indirect costs such as lost wages.

The national cost for children with autism and an intellectual disability in the U.S. was more than $107,800 per year up to age 5, and roughly $85,600 per year between ages 6 and 17.

A new study has found that the cost of supporting a person with an autism spectrum disorder throughout his or her lifetime can soar as high as $3.5 million to $5 million.

Yet the estimated amount of NIH Funding for FY 2014 for autism spectrum disorder was $190M.

And in 10 years, the annual cost is expected to be $200-400 billion.


One in 68 children has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder. And autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the U.S. with a 10-17% annual growth rate.

And it’s still not precisely known what is causing the steady rise in autism diagnosis.

“There has certainly been an increase in awareness, and that drives families toward earlier action … It drives them to ask questions at earlier ages, and it also increases the probability of detection,” Rob Ring, chief science officer with the nonprofit Autism Speaks, said.

“We also know that surveillance itself is improving. Groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics have instituted guidelines for screening, which increase the chances of picking up kids who have been missed previously.”

Notably, the new report found that most children tend to be diagnosed after age 4, despite advances that have made it possible for diagnosis to happen as early as age 2. Minority and under served populations tend be diagnosed even later.

The CDC recommends children be screened when the are 9, 18 and 24-30 months. Another research study suggests that some signs of autism are visible as early as 12 months of age.

That disparity suggests that too many children are “missing out on the transformative benefits on outcomes that early intervention offers,” Ring said. “Earlier diagnosis has got to be a priority.”

In a statement, Coleen Boyle, director of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, echoed the sentiment.

“Community leaders, health professionals, educators and childcare providers should use these data to ensure children with ASD are identified as early as possible and connected to the services they need,” she said.


Boys are more likely to have autism than girls. Autism is roughly five times more common in boys than girls, according to CDC estimates. One in 42 boys have been identified with autism, compared to 1 in 189 girls.

The symptoms of autism can present themselves in infancy. According to the NIH, early indicators include: No babbling by age 1, no single words by 16 months, poor eye contact and more.

Scientists are not certain what causes autism. According to the NIMH, both genetic and environmental factors could contribute.

There is no cure for autism, but there are ways to treat it. Autism is treated with therapy, education plans and medication. Doctors and scientists say that early identification and intervention for children with ASD can help them thrive academically and socially in the future.

Research shows that there is no link between the onset of autism and vaccinations. Even when multiple vaccines are given to a child on the same day, they are still not at risk of developing autism.

If a child has ASD, their sibling has a 2-8% of also being affected. Studies have also shown that if a child with ASD has an identical twin, the other will be affected anywhere from 36-95% of the time.

20-30% of children with ASD develop epilepsy. Children whose language skills regress before they turn 3 have been found to have a higher risk of developing epilepsy.

About 10% of children who have ASD also have another genetic, metabolic or neurologic disorder.

These disorders include Bipolar Disorder, Fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome according to the CDC.

There’s no question that parenting an autistic child, a child who is misunderstood, mislabeled and mistreated is a huge responsibility and effort.

When society doesn’t understand the reasons behind behavior, it’s the child’s fault. Or it’s the parent’s fault.

What if, as a parent you were told:

“You’ve done nothing wrong. You didn’t cause this. You haven’t failed your child. You were given an instruction manual for a Ford and your child is a Ferrari.

So, congratulations! Your child is NOT fundamentally different from other children. You just need the right instruction manual.”

Parenting your child will be more intense. You’ll need more patience and time. Your child will have intense emotions and needs.

But he or she will also have intense curiosity, drive, determination, desire, persistence and individuality.

What you’ll need to find is the right fuel, the right environment and the right supports.

With those, your child has great potential. With the right supports, they will have a happy and fulfilling life.


If you have a child with autism and want to learn more about programs that can help, visit http://www.myASDF.org.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation is a charity that supports children with autism spectrum disorders by providing education, information, and financial assistance to their families and relevant community service organizations.

Funds donated to ASDF are used to address any and all kinds of issues in assisting children with autism and their families.

Visit http://www.myASDF.org, email info@myASDF.org, or call 877-806-0635 for more information and to see how you can help.

Other help is provided by a handful of organizations such as:

Easter Seals http://www.easterseals.com/our-programs/autism-services/

National Autism Association http://nationalautismassociation.org/family-support/programs/helping-hand/# offer financial help to struggling families.

United Healthcare Children’s Foundation also offer grants to pay for autism treatments. http://www.uhc.com/news_room/2013_news_release_archive/childrens_medical_grants_available.htm


To subscribe to Epilepsytalk.com and get the latest articles by email, simply go to the bottom box on the right, enter your email address and click on “Follow”.




  1. […] Epilepsy Talk site this morning. It has some interesting statistics and some good resource links.: https://epilepsytalk.com/2015/08/29/autism-who-has-it/ __________________ A healthy brain is part of a healthy body. You can't have one without the […]


    Pingback by Autism News Link - Epilepsy Forum — August 29, 2015 @ 11:34 PM

  2. For a long time I thought that parents who used drugs and then had children, had kids that developed autism. For some time, I thought they were just behaving like brats. I never had children so I don’t know much about autism.


    Comment by Joan Ryan — August 30, 2015 @ 12:37 PM

  3. I learned a lot writing this article. And also this one:

    Epilepsy and Autism



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — August 30, 2015 @ 2:59 PM

  4. It’s a shame that marijuana is not the number one course of action for those who suffer autism and epilepsy. Terry http://www.ontariocourts.ca/decisions/2000/july/parker.htm


    Comment by hscguineapig414895t — August 30, 2015 @ 10:36 PM

  5. You’re preaching to the choir! 🙂


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — August 31, 2015 @ 9:50 AM

  6. what are the symptoms of autism? I don’t have children and have not paid attention to it at all.


    Comment by Joan Ryan — August 31, 2015 @ 11:02 AM

  7. OMG. What a long and sordid history.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — August 31, 2015 @ 7:59 PM

    • Yes, and add anti-convulsant drugs to people who already have overly sensitive nervous systems and inexplicable behaviors, and you have some real problems. Not everyone is like Temple Grandin (who, by the way, does not have epilepsy).


      Comment by Martha — August 31, 2015 @ 8:16 PM

      • But Temple Grandin is amazing, even if she does not have epilepsy on top of her autism.

        Speaking of autism and intelligence, a moment of silence and thanks to Oliver Sacks for all his contributions to science and the world at large.


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 1, 2015 @ 8:20 AM

  8. Phylis, you never cease to amaze me! I just returned home from none other than a job interview to work with young children with autism! lol I’m very familiar with this and of course, Epilepsy! It’s my opinion that both of these issues are Spectrum Disorders because they both run across a spectrum and vary from person to person.

    I believe that everyone has something so in that regard we are all the same and still different. We can all make significant contributions to the world, we just need to find out or have someone help us find out where our talents lie. For example, you were a copywriter and now your research and write these incredible articles that help thousands of people. I can’t begin to tell you how much I admire your talent. As an educator, it’s my job to try and find those talents in the young people I work with too and over the years I have done that too and it has been the most gratifying experience.

    Like Autism, Epilepsy isn’t curable but it can be worked with and there’s a huge part of me that believes marijuana does not need to play a role in that. I can see its worth in pain relief but I remain guarded about it. I also believe the debate over this issue will continue on for years to come. As to why there seems to be such an increase in diagnosis? I think the illnesses have always been around, we’ve just gotten better at diagnosing them at an earlier age. Early detection has been the key to helping many illnesses. Children are thriving now in social settings where they once were outcasts. People with Epilepsy need to catch up and again, this is just my opinion. It is my hope that if I land this position in this specialized setting, I might be able to make a very small contribution to those with Autism and possibly Epilepsy too.

    As always, thank you for your hard work Phyllis!


    Comment by Janet — September 4, 2015 @ 4:17 PM

    • I certainly agree that, once again, epilepsy is the step-child in information and research.

      And I think your definition of both autism and epilepsy being “spectrum disorders” hits it right on the button. (If only everyone, or even SOME people were as smart as you!)

      It is my hope, that educators, like yourself, can nurture and bring out hidden talents, with the help of understanding (ah ha!) and knowledge.

      Those to have you as a teacher and educator, will be lucky indeed! 🙂


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 4, 2015 @ 4:45 PM

  9. I’m enterested in learning more about what you
    Teach and explain more.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Scott Blackburn — July 22, 2021 @ 5:52 PM

    • Scott, I’m a writer who freelanced as a Health & Wellness writer for ten years. Basically, I select a subject and then research it and write it, edit it and then research it a little more to tweak the information.

      I am NOT a doctor or anyone associated with the medical field.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 22, 2021 @ 5:55 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

    View Full Profile →

    Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive free notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 3,265 other subscribers
    Follow Epilepsy Talk on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: