Autism Identification Policies and Practices in Early Childhood: A Preliminary Investigation From One State

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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups; however, children from culturally and linguistically diverse groups are, on average, misdiagnosed more often and identified later than White children. Understanding current practices and procedures is important for ensuring the use of evidence-based identification practices and the early and appropriate identification of culturally and linguistically diverse children with ASD. The purpose of this article is to describe the results of a survey regarding the early identification and intervention practices of professionals working with young children with ASD in one state in the United States. Results indicated that practitioners did not use practices that align with professional guidelines to identify young culturally and linguistically diverse children with ASD and that the requirements/standards for the ASD identification evaluation process varied across programs/agencies within the state. Also, most practitioners reported using non-evidence-based practices within the identification evaluation process.

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