The Cost of Autism - myfoxcarolinas.com

The Cost of Autism

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Michael Thomas Turner Loves cooking with his mother. It’s a time for them to bond, and a time for her to forget the amount of money it takes to care for him. His mother, Rolanda Turner, still remembers the day she found out her son was autistic.

“My son is autistic. I’m supposed to be the psychiatric mental health professional nurse. I’m the one that should have caught the signs and the symptoms. I’m the one that should have known. So I thought that if my sons autistic ok fine send in the troops,” Turner said.

She didn’t know her battle with autism would mean switching schools or finding support in other places.

“He started transitioning well into a regular classroom setting full day, now he’s doing really well top of the class, gets a 100 on his spelling,” Turner said. “Does so well he’s reading, writing, math is one of his favorite subjects and he has just blossomed into a very, very smart young gentleman.”

And she didn’t know that this developmental disability could one day cost her two million dollars. One in six children in the U.S. suffers from a developmental disability. On average medical expenses for a child with autism is about six times that of other children. The lifetime cost of autism is three times the cost of down syndrome and two times the cost of ADHD, making it one of the most expensive childhood disabilities.

“There’s one critical critical thing the doctor suggested to me and I respect him to this day. He said Rolanda hold on to your purse because money can’t buy your sons health,” Turner said.

For Nancy Nestor of the Autism Society of North Carolina the numbers are real and personal.

“Some of the nicest people I know are parents who have children with autism. It changes your view of the world and what’s important in life and so many things that other people take for granted are so important to you,” Nestor said.

For Rolanda, when it comes to her son Michael, one thing keeps her smiling.

“Oh gosh…( Laughter) His love,” Turner said.


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