Health care providers may need better training in how to work with Latino and Black families of children with autism and DD

By Sandra Magana, MSW, PhD
University of Illinois at Chicago
and
Susan Parish, PhD, MSW
The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy, Brandeis University

There are health care inequalities for underrepresented minority adults and children, however little is known about if these inequalities exist among children with autism and other developmental disabilities (DD).

What did you do in your research?
We analyzed a national data set of children with special health care needs that included questions about health care access, use and quality. We compared Latino to White children, and Black to White children to examine potential differences in health care quality. We also looked at differences between those with autism and those with other DD.

What did you find out?
We found that in general Latino and Black children with autism and other DD experienced poorer health care quality compared to White children. Latino and Black parents reported less satisfaction with their health care providers on issues such as making them feel like a partner, spending more time, or understanding their family culture. We also found that some of these differences were intensified when the child was Latino or Black and also had autism as compared to those with DD.

What are the take-home messages?
Health care providers may need better training in how to work with Latino and Black families of children with autism and DD. They also need more education about autism and how that plays out in different families.

To learn more about these findings contact
Sandra Magana.

Full Journal Article
Magaña, S, Parish, S.L., Rose, R.A., Timberlake, M. & Swaine, J.G. (2012). Racial and ethnic disparities in quality of health care among children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 50(4), 287-299.