Financial Planning

Financial Planning for Families Affected by Autism

By  Brian Thorp

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According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control conducted in 2018, approximately 1 in 44 8-year-old children were identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). If you’re a parent raising a child diagnosed with ASD, this statistic means you’re not alone.

Beyond the mental and physical toll commonly experienced by families impacted by ASD, an increased financial burden often arises as well. The good news is that you’ll find an extensive range of resources and a community of peers and professionals with the knowledge and experience to help you navigate the challenges of family life with a child on the spectrum.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition. Other causes are not yet known. Scientists believe there are multiple causes of ASD that act together to change the most common ways people develop. We still have much to learn about these causes and how they impact people with ASD.

People with ASD may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. There is often nothing about how they look that sets them apart from other people.  The abilities of people with ASD can vary significantly. For example, some people with ASD may have advanced conversation skills whereas others may be nonverbal. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others can work and live with little to no support.

ASD begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children show ASD symptoms within the first 12 months of life. In others, symptoms may not show up until 24 months of age or later. Some children with ASD gain new skills and meet developmental milestones until around 18 to 24 months of age, and then they stop gaining new skills or lose the skills they once had.

As children with ASD become adolescents and young adults, they may have difficulties developing and maintaining friendships, communicating with peers and adults, or understanding what behaviors are expected in school or on the job. They may come to the attention of healthcare providers because they also have conditions such as anxiety, depression, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which occur more often in people with ASD than in people without ASD.

Source: cdc.gov – ASD Homepage

For support with the financial challenges associated with raising a child with ASD, a financial advisor with firsthand knowledge can provide invaluable guidance informed by their own experience with the disorder. But it may not be easy to find a local financial advisor who can relate to your unique situation and needs.

Fortunately, many financial advisors offer virtual services so you can meet online no matter where you (or they) live. This means you can choose to hire a financial advisor who lives hundreds of miles away if you decide their knowledge about financial planning for families affected by autism could provide a level of understanding far above and beyond an advisor unfamiliar with the disorder.


💕 Smart Money Insights for Families Affected by Autism

This page is organized into sections to help you quickly find the information you need and get answers to your questions:

  1. Q&A with Financial Advisors Affected by Autism
  2. Get Answers to Your Questions About Autism & Financial Planning
  3. Browse Related Articles

– Financial Advisors Affected by Autism –

Four Questions with Chad Budy

We asked Chad Budy, a financial advisor based in Columbus, Ohio, and a proud father who is raising a child with Autism, to share insights from his own experience to help others affected by ASD.

Q: Can you describe the financial challenges you frequently encounter among the families you serve who are raising a child diagnosed with Autism? 

Chad: You often will see an increase in childcare expenses for families where both parents work outside of the home. Depending on where their child falls on the ‘spectrum’, you may need specialized care for the child. Most childcare facilities have people who are specialized in dealing with developmental disabilities, but you have to make sure that you do your own due diligence as a parent.

Q: What are some of the ways you’re able to help families navigate these obstacles to eventually overcome them?

Chad: It’s as simple as making adjustments to your monthly budget. I always recommend that everyone has a monthly budget regardless of how ‘well off’ someone may be. If the family is having a hard time paying for care, there are a lot of items that counties and the states will help you pay for. I would advise regardless of your financial situation, that you reach out to your local board of developmental disabilities to see what help you may qualify for.

Q: As a financial advisor personally impacted by Autism, how has your own experience helped shape your approach to serving clients also raising a child with ASD?

Chad: It’s something that has given me perspective. From the outside looking in, your child may act differently than other children, but you don’t notice it as the parent of the child. ASD is a spectrum, not a diagnosis where every child is the same. You just need to know what they do and don’t like, and make sure you know what coping mechanisms to use with the child to help them through a tough time.

Q: Are there online resources or local organizations you recommend to parents raising a child with ASD?

Chad: Yes! So many great resources with AutismSpeaks as well as through local development disability boards. You can even join support groups as a parent because it’s not easy seeing your child struggle. As a parent you want your children to live a fulfilled life, these resources give you hope that it will happen for your child. Parents need to make sure they’re paying attention to their own Mental Health as well, so I would also suggest talking to someone if you find yourself struggling.

As I said, it’s not easy, however, it does get better. There is hope and our kids will prove a lot of people wrong by breaking the stigma.


🙋‍♀️ Have Questions About Autism & Financial Planning?




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About the Author
Brian Thorp, Founder and CEO of Wealthtender profile picture

Brian Thorp

Founder and CEO, Wealthtender

Brian and his wife live in Texas, enjoying the diversity of Houston and the vibrancy of Austin.

With over 25 years in the financial services industry, Brian is applying his experience and passion at Wealthtender to help more people enjoy life with less money stress.

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn

Disclaimer: To make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.