In The Politics of Autism, I discuss screening and diagnosis
Historically, African-American children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder at a significantly lower rate than Caucasian children, but this gap has narrowed: across all network monitoring sites, autism remains about 7 percent more likely to be identified in Caucasian children than African-American children, and there is no evidence that this disorder is more common in any one race than another.
A serious residual disparity revealed by the CDC’s most recent network report is that African-American children who were identified with an autism spectrum disorder were twice as likely as Caucasian children to be co-diagnosed with an intellectual disability (44 percent compared to 22 percent). In other words, when an African-American child has this common condition, he/she is much more likely to suffer also from intellectual disability.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have recently been awarded funding by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to address this disparity, which may be caused by delays in the timing of diagnosis and access to high-quality intervention.