Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be a result of multiple kinds of developmental disabilities. Symptoms include various levels of impairment resulting in social, communication and behavioral challenges.
The federal government assists people with ASD through providing health coverage through Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) Part B covers ASD beneficiaries under Chronic Care Management Services. In 2014, 0.2% of all Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) beneficiaries and 0.9% of those less than 65 years of age received coverage through Medicare. Between both Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries less than 65 years of age, 1.5% made ASD claims.
The Medicaid program particularly supports children, youth, and adults with ASD who have limited income and resources. In addition to healthcare coverage, Medicaid also provides strong support of community living through home and community-based services such as respite care.
The government is also investing in ASD research. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established regional centers of excellence for ASD and other developmental disabilities. These centers make up the Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) Network, and focus on Study to Explore Early Development (SEED). There are three main study groups in SEED:
- Children with ASD
- Children with other developmental disabilities
- Children without developmental disabilities
One such study was published in 2016, revealing the demographics of people with ASD. According to the study approximately 1 in 68 children are living with ASD. According to the same report, ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, but is 5 times more prevalent among males than females. Adults with ASD are also prone to other chronic conditions like diabetes, coronary heart disease, seizure disorder and cancer.
Research is also being conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve screening and diagnosis of ASD; testing and developing therapeutic treatments for the symptoms of ASD; Identifying potential risk factors that may be linked to the cause(s) of ASD; and developing effective support services and interventions for individuals with ASD and their families.
Rest assured, over the past few years, there have been considerable efforts for research and healthcare regarding ASD, and the government has provided much support.