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Abstract

Objective: Lessen racial disparity by advancing awareness and promoting culturally competent practice related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) among racial groups to safeguard that children regardless of race, receive timely, accurate diagnosis and intervention. Evidence has been inconclusive regarding disparities in identifying and diagnosing ASD with some reports of higher incidents of delayed and missed diagnoses of ASD among underserved ethnic and racial minority groups. Thus, this study examined the relationship between the child’s race and reported perception of ASD and clinical diagnosis of ASD among White and Non-White children. Method: The sample (N=48) consisted of preschool children (between the ages 2 to 5) referred by the Child Find Project to the Psychological and School Services of Eastern Carolina (PSSEC), who completed the Pediatric Autism intakes and diagnostic forms. The MANOVA statistical analysis was used to examine whether differences existed between reported perceptions of ASD in White and Non-White groups compared to clinician’s diagnosis of ASD in White and Non-White groups based on the child’s race. Results: The results revealed an overall higher rate of diagnosis of ASD among the White group compared to the Non-White group. However, teachers’ reported perception of ASD was higher for the Non-White group, while parents reported perception of ASD was lower for the Non-White group. Conclusions: These findings revealed differences in the way ASD symptoms were perceived, which can explain the previously reported higher delayed and missed diagnoses of ASD among underserved ethnic and racial minorities.

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder; race; ethnicity; minority; perception

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