Even as DDS has enacted more restrictive eligibility requirements, autism cases have skyrocketed, beginning with births in the early 1980s. DDS now adds about 5,000 autism cases per year, up from about 200 per year just three decades ago. Once a rare disorder, the total DDS autism population now exceeds 83,000 cases. Diagnostic shift has been shown to not account for this rapid surge.
(Source: Department of Developmental Services, December 2015 data; projections after 2029 are based on current DDS Autism intake rates of approximately 5,000 per year.)
At the end of 2016, DDS will count 27,391 autism cases age 18 and up. This number is expected to quadruple in 20 years, to 109,506. At present, demand for autism housing and day programs far outstrips capacity, with only a fraction of adults with autism residing outside the family home. California is currently not creating any plans to appreciably increase options or expand capacity.
Bottom Line: Based on a conservative estimate of $100k per year per case, within 20 years, California will need $10 billion per year just to support DDS adults with autism. This is double DDS’s entire current budget to serve all developmental disabilities of all ages, and about one-quarter the state’s budget for K-12 education.
Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area (SFASA) is dedicated to expanding the limited lifespan care options for the dramatically increasing numbers of adults with autism.