Home Uncategorized Cost of Caring for Autistic Children: UAE Families Spend Dh50,000 Monthly

Cost of Caring for Autistic Children: UAE Families Spend Dh50,000 Monthly

Families in the GCC encounter significant financial burdens for autism care, with substantial expenses required for treatment and education.

by Jamsheera
Autisim in kids

Parenting a child with autism brings unique challenges, especially with rising living costs. According to a PwC Middle East expert, UAE families may spend up to Dh50,000 monthly to support a child with autism.

In observance of World Autism Day, PwC Middle East published a comprehensive report titled ‘From Awareness to Action – Elevating Autism Care in the GCC for Meaningful Change,’ exploring autism spectrum disorder in the GCC region.

The report notes the uncertain prevalence of autism in the GCC, with conflicting studies showing varying rates. For instance, Bahrain’s autism rates are as low as 4.3 per 10,000 children, while rates in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the UAE range between 20-29 per 10,000. Qatar and Kuwait exceed 30 per 10,000 children.

The report highlighted the considerable financial burden of autism care in the GCC, with families bearing substantial expenses for treatment and education.

Lina Shadid, PwC Middle East’s health industries lead, emphasized the multifaceted economic and social impacts of autism spectrum disorder in the UAE.

“Families encounter a significant financial strain, covering expenses for healthcare, specialized education, and therapeutic services,” Shadid informed Khaleej Times.

The report indicates that essential diagnostic and therapeutic services for autism are costly, ranging from Dh450 to Dh1,000 per hour in the UAE. Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, fees for autism specialists range from SAR100 to SAR600 per appointment.

“Our research shows that over four years, families in the UAE can spend upwards of Dh1 million on care and education for a child with autism. Monthly expenses for other families can reach Dh50,000, covering school fees, a shadow teacher, speech/language therapy, and more,” noted Shadid.

Shadid emphasized that very few insurers provide substantial coverage, if any, for additional care costs. “This financial strain is compounded by the emotional and logistical challenges of navigating a complex healthcare system, where multiple disciplines are necessary for comprehensive care, and accessing quality specialist care can be challenging.”

Profound social impact

Shadid highlighted that the stigma surrounding autism spectrum disorder and a lack of widespread public awareness can result in isolation for individuals with autism and their families.

“In our interviews, a lack of community support emerged as a prevalent theme. Individuals with autism require acceptance and inclusivity, while families serving as caregivers need a safe environment to voice frustrations, seek guidance, find emotional support, and feel heard and understood, reducing their isolation during their journey,” Shadid expressed.

UAE’s effective initiatives

The GCC countries are making significant strides in enhancing autism care through community engagement, comprehensive services, specialized programs, and research. In the UAE, numerous specialized centers for education and rehabilitation have been established across the nation.

Shadid emphasized that the initiatives undertaken in the UAE, such as inclusive education policies and community support programs, represent positive strides toward integrating individuals with autism into society and enhancing their quality of life.

“These promising initiatives need further development, including expanded training programs for specialist caregivers and increased accessibility and capacity in autism centers. Attention should also be given to support provided during the transition from childhood to adulthood for individuals with autism, ensuring they continue to receive the necessary support and resources to empower and enrich their lives throughout adulthood,” Shadid concluded.

Related Articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More