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Economic analysis of early intervention for autistic children: findings from four case studies in England, Ireland, Italy and Spain

Tinelli, Michela ORCID: 0000-0002-8816-4389, Roddy, Áine, Knapp, Martin ORCID: 0000-0003-1427-0215, Arango, Celso, Mendez, Maria Andreina, Cusack, James, Canitano, Roberto, Oakley, Bethany and Quoidbach, Vinciane (2023) Economic analysis of early intervention for autistic children: findings from four case studies in England, Ireland, Italy and Spain. European Psychiatry, 66 (1). ISSN 1778-3585

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Identification Number: 10.1192/j.eurpsy.2023.2449


BACKGROUND: Many autistic children experience difficulties in their communication and language skills development, with consequences for social development into adulthood, often resulting in challenges over the life-course and high economic impacts for individuals, families, and society. The Preschool Autism Communication Trial (PACT) intervention is effective in terms of improved social communication and some secondary outcomes. A previously published within-trial economic analysis found that results at 13 months did not support its cost-effectiveness. We modeled cost-effectiveness over 6 years and across four European countries. METHODS: Using simulation modeling, we built on economic analyses in the original trial, exploring longer-term cost-effectiveness at 6 years (in England). We adapted our model to undertake an economic analysis of PACT in Ireland, Italy, and Spain. Data on resource use were taken from the original trial and a more recent Irish observational study. RESULTS: PACT is cost-saving over time from a societal perspective, even though we confirmed that, at 13 months post-delivery, PACT is more expensive than usual treatment (across all countries) when given to preschool autistic children. After 6 years, we found that PACT has lower costs than usual treatment in terms of unpaid care provided by parents (in all countries). Also, if we consider only out-of-pocket expenses from an Irish study, PACT costs less than usual treatment. DISCUSSION: PACT may be recommended as a cost-saving early intervention for families with an autistic child.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Health Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I10 - General
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2023 11:57
Last Modified: 26 May 2024 07:00

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