Hispanic Children With Autism Less Likely to be Diagnosed Than Non-Hispanic Peers, CDC Finds
Hispanic children with autism are less likely to be diagnosed than white, non-Hispanic children, due to language barriers, cultural differences, and a lack of autism awareness in the Latino community, according to behavioral health experts with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
According to a report this month by Arizona Public Media.org, the CDC found that Hispanic children with autism are 1.6 times less likely to be diagnosed than their white peers, and 1.9 times less likely than African-American children. Illustrating the misdiagnoses common in the Latino community, the APM report noted the case of Lourdes Lerma, a Phoenix, Arizona woman whose daughter, Naiara, was diagnosed with mental retardation at age 4, before finally being given the proper diagnosis of autism at age 10. Lerma acknowledged that her daughter’s late diagnosis might stem from a lack of education about autism in the Latino community.
Beatriz Orr, clinical manager and Hispanic outreach coordinator of Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, noted that Hispanic children are likely to attend pre-school later than children of other ethnicities, and may have less exposure to teachers, who are often the first to suspect that a child might have autism.
Fortunately, federal resources are becoming more widely available as diagnostic methods have improved. According to the CDC, autism diagnoses have increased 15% from 2016 to 2018. 1 in 59 children in the United States lives with autism, according to CDC estimates.