The influence of race on parental beliefs and concerns during an autism diagnosis: A mixed-method analysis
The purpose of this mixed-method study was to examine racial differences in parental beliefs and concern about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) versus clinical judgment. The sample included 489 children with ASD undergoing their first ASD evaluation. Parent belief that their child had ASD was highest among parents of White children. White children whose parents believed the child had ASD had lower ASD severity. Parents of Black/African American and Hispanic children were more likely to report communication concerns than parents of White children. Parental concern about social communication was related to higher ASD severity for Hispanic children. Implications for diagnostic processes are discussed.Lay abstract
The goal of this study was to examine if there were differences between races in parental concern and belief about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the perspectives of clinicians. We studied 489 children with ASD who were having their first evaluation at an ASD clinic. Parents of White children most often believed that their child had ASD. However, White children whose parents believed the child had ASD were less severe in their symptoms. Parents of Black/African American or Hispanic children were more likely to have concerns about communication than parents of White children. In Hispanic families, parental concern about social communication was related to more severe symptoms in children. We discuss the implications of our findings for diagnosis.