New study on Autism in Latino children

August 19, 2013 1:54:22 PM PDT
A new study is taking a closer look at diagnosing Latino children with Autism, and why it takes a little longer.

Darius was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2, and his younger brother is being evaluated now at only 18 months.

But on average, most Latino children are diagnosed 2 and a half years later than other children.

A new study of 267 California pediatricians shows that only about 1 in 10 performs the recommended screening test in Spanish.

As assistant director of public health research for autism speaks, Dr. Amy Daniels says it confirms other research.

"That has shown that children of Latino families are often under-identified, diagnosed later ,receive less quality care, and less family centered care than white children," she said.

But doctors in the new study say communication and cultural barriers are part of the challenge. And even when a child is diagnosed, Darius's mother Rima says it's not always accepted by the family.

"If you're not knowledgeable, they're gonna tell you there's nothing wrong with your child nobody in the family has it they don't know what they're talking about," said Rima Izquierdo.

But it's often parents that recognize the early clues of autism so part of the solution is educating in Spanish.

As part of a new campaign called "Maybe", Autism speaks has released 2 new public service announcements in Spanish.

"We need to make sure that these things are being explained in terms our community understands in our native languages by people like us," adds Rima.

Autism speaks is now also distributing education materials in Spanish to community health centers and doctors. Rima hopes it will change the statistics for her community.

Almost all those issues impact other minority communities also- whether it's cultural acceptance of the diagnosis, and education when it comes to the early warning signs.

100 Day Tool Kit in Spanish

Early Access to Care in Spanish

"Maybe" campaign

Autism Response Team

Additional resources in Spanish :