The month of April has marked Autism Awareness Month across the country since the mid-1970s. The Autism Society hopes that by designating the months of April as Autism Awareness Month it will bring public attention to the disorder and therefore finally locate the cause and/or the cure for those suffering from an Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD.
Autism is not just one disorder but refers to a broad range of disorders that are collectively referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder. While ASD affects an individual’s communication and social interaction abilities, the extent to which it affects them depends on where the individual falls on the spectrum. Some people diagnosed with ASD are highly functioning and able to live productive, independent lives. Others, however, will require a lifetime of daily care. Experts estimate that the cost of that care is somewhere between $3.5 and $5 million over the course of a lifetime.
Although there is no known “cure” at the present time, doctors are hopeful. Because the rate at which children are being diagnosed with ASD has been steadily increasing over the past few decades, the pressure is on to figure out what causes ASD and to find effectives ways to treat it.
In the meantime, if you are a parent of a child with ASD, be sure to include special needs planning in your estate plan. There are numerous estate planning tools and tactics that can help ensure that your child will be well taken care of in the event that something happens to you; however, you must sit down and incorporate them into your estate plan now.