FOX47 NEWS - The Cost Of Autism

Jeff Angileri
Apr 2, 2008, 11:00 PM

Five year old Mitchell Braun is mashing down some green Play-Doh.

I'm going to make a frog! says Mitchell.

His parents Paul and Krysia say talking to us is a huge step for Mitchell-

A year ago he hardly said a word.

And as an infant- it was worse.

He wasn't even trying to communicate by pointing or any kind of physical communication at all, says mother Krysia Braun.

The Braun family was lucky.

Three years ago their application for the state's children's long term support waiver was accepted.

The program allowed the family to put Mitchell through the recommended 30 hours of extensive interaction treatment a week.

Therapy that costs an estimated 70 thousand dollars a year.

If that wasn't there, in those critical early years, we wouldn't have been able to afford it there is just no way, says Paul Braun.

But many other families aren't so fortunate-

Most of them have to pay out of pocket- which can have more than just a financial impact.

85 to 90 percent of marriages end in divorce with families with a child in the spectrum- the emotional costs, the social costs, a lot of these people can't go on vacation, Paul Braun says.

Susan Ellis Weismer works with families of autistic children at the Waisman Center in Madison.

She says the state's current waiver program is not enough.

When some of our children are diagnosed fairy early at age 2, and they qualify for the waiver and they're on a list and waiting for 18- months or two years, Ellis Weismer.

The Braun family says what the state really needs is state wide insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorder.

They say kids like Mitchell will be dealing with the disorder for the rest of their lives.

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