with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
Williams (2010) wants us to know that when mainstream America catches a cold, communities of color catch pneumonia. This applies particulary when it comes to autism and other developmental disorders. Children of color are more often misdiagnosed or not properly treated for these disorders than their 'White' counterparts. "My son was diagnosed when he was 2 years old. I'm connected to mainstream media, but I had never seen people of color with autism. That was when I saw a need for autism information in our community," she said.
Burkett, et al. (2015) believe that cultural factors such as 'limited health care access' impacts timely diagnosis and treatment for African American children with autism. This health care disparity delay is said to be 1.6 years behind that of a Caucasian child's diagnosis. And, is more likely to first be diagnosed as an intellectual disability, rather than an autism diagnosis.
Children of color are more often misdiagnosed, compared to other children. Also, certain cultural differences may distort the interpretation of the family’s reporting of their child’s symptoms. And, may confuse the severity of the diagnosis, and create a diagnostic bias.
Historically, inequities in healthcare persist in many disenfranchised communities. Other healthcare disparities may include whether or not families become immobilized when getting the ‘autism’ diagnosis. While most parents of newly diagnosed children search online for information and direction, many families of color do not have internet access.
Krezmien, et al. (2017) know that maladaptive behaviors such as verbal and physical aggression of school age African American children will be dealt with by suspending them from class. Suspension will happen before the school system would begin identifying them with a developmental disability such as autism. Disciplinary suspension of children does not improve the outcome, in fact this disciplinary action may become especially harmful for children with autism or intellectual disabilities.
< My Thoughts > “…children with autism or intellectual disabilities.’’
Verbal and physical aggression in school age children from any culture is often a ‘response’ to unidentified ‘learning disabilities’, sensory issues’, and/or autism. In most cases, the child doesn’t want to 'give you' a bad time – the child 'is having' a bad time!
Note: Writing, using and quoting the necessary semantics such as – children of color, Black, White, African American, Caucasian, 'other', etc. – has always been uncomfortable for me. Now I can add to that list, children with autism, autistic, atypical, neuro-typical, etc.
Ben-Sasson, A., Cermak, S., et al. (2007). Extreme Sensory Modulation Behaviors in Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders; American Journal of Occupational Therapy; V61; p 584-592.
Burkett, K., Morris, E., et al. (2015). African American Families on Autism Diagnosis & Treatment: The Influence of Culture; Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders; V45, p3244-3254.
Kremien, M., Travers, J., et al. (2017). Suspension Rates of Students with Autism or Intellectual Disabilities in Maryland from 2004-2015; Journal of Intellectual Disability Research; V61:11, p1011-1020.
Williams, J. (2010). Autism Hits Hard In Communities of Color; New York Amsterdam News; V101:18, p29.