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.
The American Academy of
Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric
medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the
health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young
adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.