A nationwide survey of 1,000 parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages 10 years or younger found that on average, there is at least a 15-month delay between the time parents first suspected a developmental issue and the onset of treatment. Such delays result in lost treatment opportunity which can negatively impact a child’s overall development.1 Shockingly, when 32% of parents sought treatment, they were told their child would outgrow it, further delaying access to instrumental treatment. The nationwide survey was commissioned by Centria Autism, a leading provider of therapy based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for children with ASD, and was conducted by Wakefield Research.2
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“In speaking with hundreds of families dealing with ASD, we’ve heard loud and clear that navigating the ASD environment, and especially finding right treatment to meet the specific needs of their child, can be difficult.” said Steven Merahn, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Centria Healthcare. “The treatment of any child with autism should be individualized and wholistic. Our team seeks to bring standard-of-care, evidence-based behavioral solutions to families and help individuals navigate the ASD care path to ensure every child has the best developmental experience possible and can achieve their goals and dreams through high-quality ABA therapy and support.”
ASD is an urgent public health priority in the U.S. As of 2018, an estimated 1 in 59 children have been identified with ASD.3 Of the 3.8 million children born in the U.S. in 2017, between 65,000 and 70,000 are expected to meet the diagnostic criteria for ASD in 2019.4
The inaugural survey, called the Centria Autism Barometer, also exposed unmet needs in providing evidence-based approaches and treatment for children with ASD, parental concern surrounding how others view their child, and the impact on a parent’s career and personal life. Additional key findings include:
- Eight medical visits to diagnose: Parents reported taking an average of 8.3 medical visits before their child was officially diagnosed, with more than half of parents (57%) noting that the diagnosis process was difficult, and 84% saying it was stressful.
- Overwhelming concern on how society treats & views ASD children: 92% of parents who have children with ASD are concerned with how other children treat their child. 84% are concerned about how the public views their child, and 80% are concerned with how teachers treat their child.
- Autism therapy is like having an extra part-time job for parents: On average, parents spend 20 hours a week on their child’s ASD treatment, and 86% wish there was a person they could turn to help them coordinate their child’s treatment and care.
“As a parent of two young children with autism, I was in deep denial when my first child, Jacob, started presenting symptoms. I didn’t know what to do or what services to use to get him treated,” said Kayla Schmidt, a parent of children with autism. “Thankfully, I was connected to Centria Autism within a couple weeks, and they’ve been tremendously helpful in providing Jacob a personalized plan to help him learn and develop based on his own needs. ABA therapy has been very successful for him. Seeing his progress gives me great hope that he will be able to reach his goals and do what he loves later in life.”