Although autism awareness and screening continue to increase within minority communities, the autism diagnosis rate among Hispanic children continues to lag behind the rate of non-Hispanic children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Language barriers, differences in culture and limited awareness among the Latino community contribute to this challenge.
Autism affects roughly 1 in 54 children in the U.S., according to the CDC’s Autism and Development Disabilities Monitoring Network. A neurological and behavioral disorder, autism affects different people in different ways. In many cases among children, autism causes them to have limited communications skills, difficulty socializing and not always aware of their surroundings.
Absence of support groups, other barriers
Among the reasons Hispanic children have a lower diagnosis rate include:
- Cultural barriers that lead families to struggle on how to seek assistance.
- Absence of resources and support groups that would steer them in the right direction.
- The fact that many Hispanic children attend preschool at a later age than children from other ethnic groups. This means they have a much later classroom experience with educators and teachers, who may be among the first people to suspect the child has autism.
All families should not feel stigmatized upon learning that their child has autism spectrum disorder or a learning disability. The earlier a child is diagnosed with autism, the better chances he or she has toward leading a productive life. Today’s educators have the tools, treatment and education skills to help your child progress.