Black And Latino Children Are Often Overlooked When It Comes To Autism
ASD affects people of all races and ethnicities, but research shows that African-American and Latino children with autism are diagnosed at older ages than white children, giving them less of an opportunity for proper intervention and treatment.
A recent study from Georgia State University found that African-American parents reported fewer concerns about behaviors like delayed speech and repetitive behaviors, even though their children showed a greater severity with these symptoms, overall. But, of course, it isn’t all up to parents.
“There are very likely parent aspects of this and very likely clinician aspects of this,” says Meghan Rose Donohue, a lead researcher on the study. Perhaps families, like Sherry’s, don’t have the information necessary to really push physicians, but it is also possible that doctors don’t take these cases seriously enough from the beginning.
Families and doctors, alike, can mistake ASD for simple bad behavior, especially in boys, as research has shown over the past couple of decades. A 2001 study at McGill University in Montreal found that doctors were more hesitant to diagnose ASD in minority families.
In 2007, a study by a team at the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania, found that African-American children were 5.1 times more likely to be misdiagnosed with conduct disorders before being diagnosed with ASD.
Regional Centers in Los Angeles, which offer services to the developmentally disabled, are now starting to look at the diagnosis disparity problem. Westside Regional Center in Culver City just received a grant from the state to look at how autism diagnosis disparities manifest within their intake and treatment programs.
“We’ve implemented a series of trainings with intake counselors on cultural awareness and sensitivity, and we’re starting to have a lot of conversations about biases,” says Tom Kelly, Westside’s chief psychologist.
Source: NPR, Black And Latino Children Are Often Overlooked When It Comes To Autism, March 2018.
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