The impact of childhood autism spectrum disorder on parent’s labour force participation: Can parents be expected to be able to re-join the labour force?

Emily J. Callander, Daniel B. Lindsay

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Parental employment is a significant factor in ensuring financial ability to access care for children with autism spectrum disorder. This article aimed to identify the influence of autism spectrum disorder on parental employment and whether childcare access may effect labour force participation using the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children, with 12 years of follow-up data (2004–2015). Parental employment when the child was aged between 0 and 11 years was assessed. A significantly larger percentage of parents whose children had autism spectrum disorder were not in the labour force when their child was aged between 2–3 and 10–11 years. However, between the ages of 2 and 5 years, these differences were not significant after accounting for maternal and paternal age, education attainment, marital status and mother labour force status prior to birth. Childcare access did not moderate the relationship between autism spectrum disorder and maternal labour force participation. Once children were of schooling age, mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder had up to two times the odds of being not in the labour force compared to other mothers, after adjusting for confounders. Evaluations of new interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder should consider how the proposed service impacts on the labour force participation of parents of children with autism spectrum disorder, particularly when the children are of schooling age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-548
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • autism spectrum disorders
  • economic costs

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