The Challenges and Costs of Raising an Autistic Child

Noble McIntyre on July 8, 2011

Recent findings by researchers at Kaiser Permanente have shown that the use of antidepressants with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (Paxil, Zoloft, and others) by pregnant women may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their children. It has become such a frequent phenomenon that many families of autistic children are now participating in Zoloft and Paxil lawsuits.
Families with autistic children have several burdens and challenges they need to overcome. Raising and nurturing a child takes a great deal of patience and hard work. When a family has a child born with autism, additional stress is added. Research has shown that parents who have an autistic child experience more stress than parents who have children who have mental retardation or Down Syndrome. The unique deficits and behaviors of autistic children are physically exhausting for families and are emotionally draining.

For instance, autistic children have a difficult time expressing their wants and needs. Parents will often not understand what the child is saying and therefore will have to guess as to what the child’s desires are. As a result, the child will become frustrated with the parent and may become aggressive and even threaten with injury.

Autistic children also lack basic leisure skills and therefore require more attention than average children. Since autistic children have difficulty with expression, they likely will not engage in regular play with other children their age. This requires parents to constantly structure their child’s time, which is difficult in the home environment. Parents will find it hard to spend alone time with their spouse since constant attention needs to be paid to the child.    

Along with the social burdens and challenges parents face in raising an autistic child, financial difficulties often arise in the treatment and care of the child. Based on research by Michael Ganz, Associate Professor of Society, Human Development at the Harvard School of Public Health, it can cost about $3.2 million to take care of an autistic person over his or her lifetime and caring for all people with autism over their lifetime costs about $35 billion each year.

Parents of autistic children sacrifice a considerable amount of personal time and money in caring for their child. Disputes have arisen between parents and insurance companies when the insurance companies have denied payment. There may be an increase in disputes since the new research on a possible link of SSRIs and autism came out. Reason points that the pharmaceutical companies should be held liable if they knew of the risks of autism and failed to warn consumers about them.

If you or a loved one has a child that has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or another type of birth defect, please contact a birth defect lawyer at McIntyre Law.

Noble McIntyre

Noble McIntyre is the senior partner and owner of McIntyre Law who focuses primarily on drug litigation and catastrophic injury cases. He is currently representing clients injured by the drugs Paxil, Levaquin and testosterone therapy drugs and by clients affected by oil field injuries. His goal has and continues to be to work diligently on behalf of his clients to achieve the highest and best result for his clients’ injuries while maintaining professionalism and abiding by all ethical standards of his profession. Read more about Noble McIntyre.

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