by RFM Founder, and parent
of a special-needs child,
Michael A. Boylan
Scope of The Issue
Based on various articles and reports, it is estimated that one in five families in the U.S. (20 percent) has a child with some special healthcare need as cited in “The Effect of Poverty and Caregiver Education on Perceived Need and Access to Health Services Among Children With Special Health Care Needs” by Porter and McBride in The American Journal of Public Health, February 2007, Volume 97, Number 2.
According to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2007 there were approximately 220 million adults over 19 years of age. Of this number, it is estimated that up to 20 percent are parents or related caregivers of a child with a diagnosed special-need––cognitive and/or physical. Therefore, it is estimated there could be over 35 million parents and/or related caregivers of special-needs children in the U.S. alone.
Though autism is reportedly the fastest-growing cognitive developmental disorder in the nation, with an estimated cost to society and families of over $100 billion by some estimates, it is one of many special-needs diagnoses. When you add the cost to corporations, the healthcare establishment, educational system, government (state and federal), and parents, the cost of the top 50 special-needs diagnoses is larger still.