When a child is diagnosed with autism, the effects on the family are often difficult to fully comprehend. Above all, the financial challenges facing many families with children on the autism spectrum are significant.
To highlight the problems facing many American families, April is designated as Autism Awareness Month across the country, according to the Autism Society.
Children along the autism spectrum can have a variety of symptoms, including behavioral issues, communication difficulties and challenges in social settings. Fortunately, a variety of therapies are available to aid development in these areas, including:
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Behavioral therapy
Children are most likely to respond well if these therapies are introduced early on. Consequently, the expenses associated with these therapies can accumulate very quickly.
In some states, health insurance plans regulated by the state do not require coverage for autism. In those areas, families are often left with large medical bills that they are unable to afford.
Luckily, Pennsylvania is one of 32 states in which such health insurance policies must provide coverage for autism spectrum disorders.
Nevertheless, many families will still face financial challenges to allow them to provide the necessary care for their child. In such situations, applying for Social Security disability benefits is one way to help ensure a child on the autism spectrum receives the appropriate therapy.
A parent trying to determine how to care for his or her child with autism while under financial constraints can discuss Social Security disability options with a skilled legal professional to ensure his or her child receives the necessary treatment.
Source: ABC News, "Autism Bankrupts Families, Emotionally and Financially," Susan Donaldson James, April 2, 2013.