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Latino Children at Risk of Delayed ASD Diagnosis

8/19/2013 For Release: August 19, 2013

​​​​​​​A study in the September 2013 issue of Pediatrics, “Pediatrician Identification of Latino Children at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder,” (published online Aug. 19) surveyed 267 California primary care pediatricians about identifying Latino children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Latino children are diagnosed with ASD less often, and later, than other children, and this study investigated the role pediatricians may play in this delay. The study found that only about 1 in 10 pediatricians were performing recommended developmental screenings in Spanish.  Furthermore, a majority of pediatricians reported that identifying ASD risk in Spanish-speaking families was difficult, and three in four physicians cited access, communication or cultural barriers to ASD identification in Latinos.  The most common barrier was lack of access to ASD specialists. The authors conclude that promoting language-appropriate screening, distributing culturally appropriate ASD materials to Latino families, improving the availability of specialists and providing physicians with support in screening and referral for Latino children could help improve early diagnosis for Latino children.


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