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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a public health concern globally, characterized by impairments in cognitive process, social functioning, communication skills, behaviours and interests. These problems require a multidisciplinary approach through an early intervention programme (EIP) which is remarkably expensive. To date, the knowledge of EIP costs for ASD children in Malaysia remains unknown. This study estimated the annual average costs of EIP for ASD children from the societal perspective (total average costs, education costs, treatment costs, and living costs), the relationship between the total annual average costs of EIP and its predictors. A cross-sectional cost analysis study using simple random sampling according to proportion was conducted among 280 parents of ASD children receiving EIP services in Klang Valley. The data were collected using interview-based questionnaire and proforma. The Activity-based Costing Technique was used to estimate the EIP-related costs. The non-parametric test was used for bivariate analysis and multiple linear regression for the predictors. The result showed that the total annual average costs of EIP, average education costs, average treatment costs, and average living costs per ASD child were estimated at RM15,158; RM3,896; RM1,948; and RM4,409 respectively. There was a significant association (P = .05) between total annual average costs of EIP, and its contributing factors; family income, ASD level, programme characteristics, and family support. Multiple regression analysis showed that 27% of the total annual average costs of EIP can be predicted by the combination of these factors; EIP types, EIP frequency, centre-based type, ASD level and family income. In conclusion, the study determined the total annual average costs of EIP and its predictors. This information is beneficial as evidence to assist the decision on future resource allocation by the policy maker.
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