Latino children in the U.S. receive an ASD diagnosis at older ages than non-Latino white children. A new study by Dr. Katharine Zuckerman sheds some light on the reasons why. Zuckerman surveyed 352 parents of children with ASD, both Latino and non-Latino, to identify the barriers they encounter when accessing diagnostic and treatment services. Overall, the 3 most common barriers were the stress associated with the diagnostic process, parental lack of knowledge about ASD, and challenges navigating the medical system.
Relative to non-Latino white families, Latino families who had limited English proficiency were more likely to: (1) report lack knowledge about ASD and trust in providers as barriers to an ASD evaluation; (2) receive fewer hours of ASD therapy; and (3) have a greater unmet need for therapy.
Interestingly, Latino families who were proficient in English were comparable to the non-Latino white families on these outcomes. These findings underscore the need for improved parent education about ASD and culturally sensitive practices, particularly in underserved communities.