Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Age of diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in Latino children: The case of Venezuelan children

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Latino children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder later in life, usually with more severe symptoms, and lower IQs, compared with non-Latino children. Possible reasons for such disparities could be due to lower levels of parent education, lower socioeconomic status, limited knowledge of parents about autism spectrum disorder, and diminished health-care knowledge. The goal of the study was to describe the age of parental concerns and at first autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, and factors associated with age at the first diagnosis in a sample of Venezuelan children. Diagnostic and demographic data were collected from 103 children between 2 and 7 years of age. Although the mean age of first concerns was 17 months, the age of diagnosis varied from 53.03 months for the Pervasive Developmental Disorders–Not Otherwise specified group to 54.38 months for the autism group. Although parents were aware of developmental difficulties before the second year of life, their children were diagnosed 36 months later. In Latin cultures, behavior problems are usually attributed to poor parenting skills, so parents might take longer to seek professional help. A better understanding of cultural influences on age of diagnosis will translate to quicker use of services independent of ethnicity.


© The Author(s) 2017

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