A recent research has shed light on an interesting fact; that parents of autistic children are more likely to be securely employed over longer terms if they have access to Medicaid service waivers for their youngsters.
A recent study was conducted that analysed the data of over 17,000 kids on the autism spectrum, and an invisible link was found to exist between the parents’ employment and the availability of waivers.
Further, the level of services that were extended through these waivers influenced the probability of dads and mums keeping their jobs.
Researchers from Penn State Rand Corporation and from the University of Pennsylvania highlighted in their findings that “Parents of children with ASD were significantly more likely to stop working because of their child’s condition than parents of children without ASD. However, we found that Medicaid (home and community-based services) waivers can alleviate this burden.”
They further uncovered new findings as researchers looked at the available data from 2005-2006 and 2009-2010 from the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs—a nationwide telephonic survey of parents that enquires about the wellbeing of kids under the age of 17.
As part of the survey, parents were asked a set of pre-defined questions about any conditions their kids had, including autism, and further collected information such as any disability that was affecting their employability prospects.
Information from this survey was cross-referenced with community-based service waivers and Medicaid home waivers. Of the 35 states that participated in this survey, as many as nine of them had waivers that target autistic children during that time period.
Thirty-seven percent of parents of autistic children responded positively to the survey, stating that a member of the family had to stop working due to the needs of the child’s disability. In comparison, it was found that only 12 percent of parents with kids with asthma said they had left their professions due to their children’s needs.
However, regarding states that had waivers, researchers found a link that suggested parents with autistic kids were unlikely to leave their jobs. Nevertheless, family status, income level and experiences also played a major role, and the waiver program was a part of the larger picture.
Those in the lower income bracket were found to have the most benefits, as different states offer generous waiver services, while high income families also saw decent gains in states where children could enrol in their programs, regardless of their status.
This support helped parents of autistic children remain employed while also ensuring that they received more than just the economic benefits, said Douglas Leslie.
Douglas Leslie, who led the study, is a professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine.
“Caring for a child with autism is difficult,” Leslie said. “Having an outlet through a job can be very beneficial to the parent’s mental well-being. It gets them out into the community.”
Leslie further highlights the importance of the findings, and says he hopes that policy makers take them into consideration while determining the type of Medicaid services that should be offered to those with developmental disorders.