New research shows that it often takes three years and visits to multiple providers before Black children are diagnosed with autism, denying them a critical opportunity for therapy when it’s likely to be most effective.

Autism can be reliably diagnosed before age 2, but most children aren’t flagged until after age 4. Black children, however, are nearly 5½ years old, on average, before they receive an autism diagnosis, according to findings published online in the journal Pediatrics.

“This study reveals major roadblocks to receiving a diagnosis of autism, which has significant consequences for young children and their families,” said John N. Constantino, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Washington University in St. Louis who led the research. “In our current national conversation about race, preventable disparities in diagnosis and treatment services deserve a high priority because failure to address these disparities may seriously compromise outcomes for children affected by autism. We must do better.”

The study looked at 584 Black children who visited autism specialty centers located in St. Louis, Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles. Researchers found that it takes Black children an especially long time to be noticed, with a diagnosis occurring an average of six months later than for their white peers.

This delay occurs even though parents of Black kids report conveying concerns about their children’s development for more than three years. Almost half of the parents of children in the study indicated that they saw multiple specialists before receiving a diagnosis.

Excerpted from “Black Children Wait Longer For Autism Diagnosis” in Disability Scoop. Read the full article.

Source: Disability Scoop | Black Children Wait Longer For Autism Diagnosis, https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2020/08/25/black-children-wait-longer-autism-diagnosis/28811 | © 2008-2020 Disability Scoop, LLC