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Study: Black children face serious delays in autism diagnoses

| Sep 4, 2020 | Special Education Law |

In a recent blog post, we discussed the findings of a 2020 study that determined Hispanic children had alarmingly low diagnosis rates of autism.

There are several factors that contribute to this inequity in diagnoses, and a recent study found that a similar disparity exists for Black children as well.

Delays in autism diagnoses stem from a larger issue

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently reported that it can take more than three years for Black children to receive a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Even when parents voiced their concerns about their children showing common symptoms, it still took far too long for families to have their children screened and obtain a diagnosis.

The delays in diagnoses are a symptom of a much larger problem in the U.S. And for individual families, a delay in diagnosis can be frustrating when parents only want to help their children get the care and early intervention they need.

Diagnosis delays also lead to intervention delays

The study’s authors also state that delayed diagnoses prevent Black children from receiving early intervention. This delay in diagnosis usually means children do not get the services they need, which can often increase the risk of developing intellectual disabilities.

Early interventions can help children build a successful foundation for their future. But California’s early intervention service, Early Start, requires individuals to have a documented assessment proving that the child:

  • Has a developmental delay;
  • Has a risk of delayed development due to a different condition; or
  • Has a risk of delay due to family history.

Parents do have the ability to refer their child to receive early intervention services, but they often still have to obtain a diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure their child is eligible.

There are many steps that families can take if they struggle to obtain the proper diagnosis for their child, such as getting a second opinion. However, with the study’s findings, there seem to be many more factors at play that prevent children from obtaining a proper diagnosis.

It can be frustrating to come up against these obstacles. Families in this stressful situation should consider consulting an experienced attorney to ensure they understand and protect their rights – and their children’s futures.