Families of children with autism are facing tens of thousands of dollars in costs and lost income, a Western Australian researcher has found.
The study — thought to be the first of its kind in WA — set out to measure whether a delayed diagnosis increased long-term costs for families.
But the paper, published in this month's edition of journal PLOS ONE, also established the median cost of a child being diagnosed with autism as $34,900 per annum.
Curtin professor and joint author Torbjorn Falkmer said the findings, drawn from the responses of 317 Western Australian families, had huge implications for parents.
"The majority of that cost, 90 per cent of it ... is because of the lack of the chance to have employment because parents have to stay home and take care of the children with autism, because they don't get the support they need," Dr Falkmer said.
"I think the system we have right now is showing us that parents are being forced to stay home, because they can't take a job because someone's got to take care of the kids.