Study shows minority children underrepresented in autism identification

hispanic childrenLawrence, Kan. — A study co-authored by an assistant professor of special education in the University of Kansas found that minority children may have been underrepresented in the country’s autism identification.

Jason Travers found that there was an increase in the number of white students identified with autism between the years 2000 to 2007 in all states, including the District of Columbia. Hispanic children who were identified with autism also increased in most states during the same years, except Kentucky, Louisiana, and the District of Columbia.

However the data gathered for the number of African-American children who were also identified with autism during the same years, showed an increase, except for the states of Alaska and Montana. According to the study:

“Nearly every state that had proportional representation of students in 2000 underidentified black and Hispanic students in 2007. Although there is no firm epidemiological evidence that race is predictive of autism, we found substantial racial differences in the ways U.S. school identify students with autism.”

Travers believes that the discrepancies shown on the data they gathered indicate several issues, one of which is that services that are available may not be as accessible among different races.

Travers is intending to carry out further research in order to develop more accurate ways in which to predict these disparities in the rates of autism.

The original article on the News Medical website can be read here