Elizabeth Hlavinka at MedPage Today:
African-American families with concerns about their children's development have to surmount many obstacles before reaching an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis with providers, a study indicated.
Among 584 Black children with ASD, the mean age of diagnosis was 5.4 years, more than 3 years after parents first reported concerns about children's development, reported John Constantino, MD, of Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues.
More than four in 10 parents (41.6%) said they went to multiple providers before their child was diagnosed, and 14% said they saw at least six doctors before reaching an ASD diagnosis, the group wrote in Pediatrics.
Delays due to a lack of available professionals or significant wait times were reported in 31.3% and 35.6% of the cases, respectively.
"When families were asked about intervention services, those were generally delayed way beyond the time when developmental therapies are recommended and have the highest level of impact on the outcomes of children," Constantino told MedPage Today. "Developmental therapies are capable of preventing severe cognitive impairment in some children with autism and impact their adaptive functioning outcomes."
In 2016 data from the CDC (not stratified by race/ethnicity), 84% of children with suspected developmental delay were evaluated as toddlers, and the median age of diagnosis was about 3 years.