Monday, May 21, 2007

Autism and Race

Kathleen Megan of the Hartford Courant reports on the 18 month lag time in diagnosis for an African American child with autism.

" Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association based in Nixa, Mo., said the issue is "actually driving us crazy. ... I think there are probably a lot of kids with autism in the minority community who are going undiagnosed."Fournier said her group is establishing a committee to reach out to minority communities. "At conferences we go to, there are no black people there, no minorities. It's kind of freaky. It's very, very noticeable.' "

"[David] Mandell, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, studied children on Medicaid in an attempt to eliminate income as a factor in quality of care. He found that white kids were diagnosed at 6.3 years old, compared with 7.9 years for African American kids. This late age for diagnosis is "not good for anybody," said Mandell."

"Mandell's study also showed that African American children were less likely - by 2.6 times - to receive an autism diagnosis on their first visit to a specialty care office and more likely to be misdiagnosed with conduct disorder and adjustment disorder."

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