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Many Hispanic families need help coping with autistic children

Many families struggle when they learn that their child has autism. A major challenge, though, is finding information and resources that will help educate them about this neurological and behavioral disorder that often leads to their child being unable to communicate and having difficulty socializing with others.

A growing number of these families are Hispanic, and many of them may not know where to seek support.

Families, schools, communities must work together

Autism is different in every child. Its onset among children usually occurs before the age of 3. That’s why it is so important to intervene and start treatment as soon as possible. Autistic children who gain the most favorable outcomes do so through the support and collaboration between their families, schools and communities.

Families can benefit from autism outreach and education programs in their communities. When family members, including siblings, know what an autistic child needs, they become better advocates for them. San Diego has a few of these groups such as Autism Society San Diego.

Confronting the challenges

For some Hispanic families, there is a stigma when they learn that their child has autism or a learning disability. Diagnosis is becoming more common as the Hispanic and Asian communities have become the largest growing groups with autistic children.

Many Hispanic families have difficulty dealing with disability, especially in sons. (Autism is diagnosed 4.5 times in boys than girls, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.) Having a boy in the family is a highlight within Hispanic culture. But what if that son is diagnosed with autism?

The result is that many Hispanic families don’t know what to do. But in time, they face the challenge. That’s why it is so important for them to learn about the disorder and seek support from other families and organizations.

Video increases awareness of autism

Philadelphia social worker Karen Krivit and a team of Drexel University students have created a series of videos designed to increase awareness about autism and highlight the experiences of minority families.

Three years ago, they released “Autism para Familias Latinas.”

Many Hispanic families can benefit by watching this video. Remember that the more you know about autism, the better the advocate you will be for your child.

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