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As the prevalence of autism has increased in recent years, researchers are searching for answers to explain this drastic rise in diagnoses. While studying various ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic demographics to determine a cause for this complex disorder, researchers have found alarming differences in identification timing and treatment options presented to upper class, minority, and low-income families. Although previous research studies provide evidence of treatment disparities, currently there are no conclusive findings that explain why these disparities exist. Therefore, this study aims to draw attention to the differences in the timing of diagnoses, service options, and advocacy support available to predominantly white middle to upper class families, minority families, and low-income families. Additionally, this study serves as an effort to consider physician perspectives, insurance policies, and parental education levels as possible reasons for identification and treatment disparities. Diagnosis and treatment differences must be identified and fully understood before they can be effectively changed. Although this research is only one piece of the larger discussion concerning autism diagnosis and treatment, it will hopefully help to determine the steps necessary to provide valuable treatment to all children with autism, regardless of ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic status.
Patricia M. Hart
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium poster
Szaller, Madie K., "Research exercise: The Impact of Racial, Ethnic, and Socioeconomic Differences on Autism Identification and Treatment" (2012). Stander Symposium Posters. 171.