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04/09/2018

African American Parents’ Perceptions of Diagnosis and Services for Children with Autism


African American Parents’ Perceptions of Diagnosis and Services for Children with Autism

Jamie N. Pearson and Hedda Meadan

 

Abstract: The identification of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during the first two years of life has become more promising; however, the probability of early ASD diagnoses does not always extend to African American children.  This disparity has decreased the likelihood that African American children will benefit from early intervention services.  This qualitative inquiry explored, via semi-structured interviews, the perceived factors that facilitate and impede early diagnoses and access to services among African American parents of young children with ASD.  A constant comparative approach was employed and 15 themes related to diagnoses, services, and recommendations emerged (e.g., parent knowledge of ASD as a facilitator to diagnosis, “aggressive advocacy” as a barrier to accessing services, and parent education as a recommendation for addressing identified barriers).  Parent advocacy and partnerships with professionals were overarching themes in this study.  Implications for parent training related to knowledge of ASD, parent advocacy, and partnerships with professionals are discussed.

 
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