World Autism Awareness Day: Why Are Latino Children Late in Autism Diagnosis?
April 2 marks the World Autism Awareness Day, which was declared by the United Nations. But with COVID-19 placed as focus or top priority globally, diseases and health complications were put aside in response of the medical experts to the disease that has claimed many lives across the globe.
The rate of autism in all regions globally is high and not enough understanding has a big effect on individuals with autism, their families, and even their community. Helping in improving the quality of life of people stricken with autism is what drives the UN in promoting the awareness of the condition.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that impacts the speech and behavior of an individual. Although the condition can be diagnosed at any age, it is still considered to be developmental since its manifestation usually appears in the first two years of the child. Moreover, it was also called a spectrum because it has a wide variation and severity of symptoms people experience. Furthermore, autism is characterized by unique social interactions, an inclination to routines, non-standard ways of learning, and having a keen interest in specific subjects.
Factors of Late Diagnosis of Autism Among Latino Children
Despite the manifestations of autism at a younger age, the condition among Latino children seems to be discovered in older ages according to Angle Journal. In addition, Latino children are less likely to be diagnosed with ASD.
The identification of autism at a much younger age is essential because it can lead to better outcomes, specifically in areas such as cognition, development of language, and peer interaction. However, research suggested that the is driven by undercounting of people with ASD in these communities.
Research suggested that failure to recognize the condition among young Latino children follows the lack of exposure to information about complex medical conditions or issues such as autism.
Meanwhile, Latino children in the United States are also experiencing delays when it comes to detecting Autism because of certain factors. Access to information is also one factor why Latino children in the United States are being diagnosed much later than other groups. Another factor that delays the diagnosis of Autism among Latino children in immigrant issues.
The study led by Katherine Zuckerman, associate professor of general pediatrics from Oregon Health and Science University, noted that the English language is one concern of Latino parents. Another one is their fear of disclosing their immigration status.
Zuckerman pointed out that the more time spent waiting means more kids will not be identified until they grow old or will not be identified to have Autism at all.
This year's World Autism Awareness Day, emphasizing the role of "patient navigators" is important. These people will play an important role in increasing the awareness level of the Latino community. Angle Journal noted that patient navigators are individuals who will have a role between the healthcare system and the patient with autism.
Moreover, the said navigators will provide necessary resources, information, and services. They should have the same language and share common background so that the community where Latino children with autism will be supported.
WATCH: On the Autism Spectrum Latino community - from MinnesotaDHS
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