And according to those Harvard researchers, public schools are bearing the brunt.
Medical costs make up less than 20% of the total, while $8610 is picked up by schools, according to the report in the journal Pediatrics.
78% of the children with autism spectrum disorder attend public school. 76% of them use special education services, compared with 8% of the overall school population.
The researchers found that most parents spent very little out-of-pocket, except for those diagnosed as most severely affected. The study authors believe that's because 34 states have passed laws requiring insurance companies to pay for at least some autism treatments.
The lead author called for policies on the local, state, and federal levels to make sure funding is available.