More Hispanic children with autism remain undiagnosed
“Sometimes, as parents, we want to justify the behavior of our children, but we have to admit the behavior is not right,” she says. “For example, when I noticed my son stopped talking, I justified it saying that he was just looking for attention.”
UC Davis MIND Institute released this week the largest study to date comparing the development of Hispanic and non-Hispanic children and found a higher percentage of Hispanic children often have undiagnosed developmental delays, or autism. The study included 1,061 children living in California who were between 24 and 60 months of age. The results showed that 6.3 percent of Hispanic children enrolled in the study met criteria for developmental delay and autism, compared with only 2.4 percent of non-Hispanic participants.
This study raises concerns that many Hispanic children with developmental delays may not be getting the services they need. Experts recommend increased public health efforts to improve awareness, especially among Hispanics, about the indicators of developmental delay and autism.
“Autism and developmental delay tend to go undiagnosed when parents are not aware of the signs to look for, and the conditions are often misdiagnosed when parents don’t have access to adequate developmental surveillance and screening,” said Dr. Virginia Chaidez, the lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences.
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