Detection and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder by Occupational Therapy Practitioners: Addressing Racial Disparity in Diagnosis

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Abstract

As the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continues to rise, racial disparities remain in age of diagnosis and initiation of treatment. Therefore, occupational therapy practitioners should examine cultural perceptions related to disparities in ASD diagnosis. This article investigates the role that practitioners may play in this disparity by asking, “Are occupational therapy practitioners contributing to the late diagnosis of children with ASD who are members of particular racial or ethnic groups?” Correlations among practitioners’ detection of symptoms, parents’ perceptions, and evaluator influences are investigated. By examining these factors, practitioners may gain better insight into these disparities and therefore provide more effective advocacy regarding early diagnosis and treatment access.

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