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Access To Diagnosis And Treatment Services Among Latino Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Sandra Magaña, Kristina Lopez, Arellys Aguinaga, Holly Morton

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Abstract There is greater identification of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and, as a result, more attention to specialty services to address the challenges children with ASD face. Along with the growth in identification of ASD is a growth in the population of Latino children, yet there is some evidence that disparities exist in diagnosis and services between Latino and non-Latino White children. This study further documents these disparities and investigates the mechanisms that may contribute to them. Diagnosis and specialty services were compared between 48 Latino and 56 non-Latino White children diagnosed with ASD, and factors that contribute to differences are explored. Results show that Latino children were diagnosed almost one year later than White children, received fewer specialty services, and had higher unmet service needs. Factors that accounted for differences in the number of services received were maternal level of education and the number of sources of knowledge about autism. Findings suggest that service providers need to work to provide greater awareness and knowledge about autism, and make services more accessible to Latino families.