A study published in the July 2013 issue of Pediatrics, published online in June, compares treatment methods and services provided to children diagnosed with autism and found that Black children diagnosed with autism receive less treatment than white children
The study, titled Racial and Ethnic Differences in Subspecialty Used by Children with Autism, focuses on patients in Massachusetts General Hospital and tries to “describe racial differences in use of specialty care among children with autism spectrum disorder.”
Of the 3,615 children ages 2 to 21 considered in the study, 1,557 had subspecialty care visits. According to the study, of African American children 29.8 percent had subspecialty compared to the 36.9 percent of white children.
There is also a difference in patients who receive gastroenterology, treatment which targets the digestive track and its disorders, and nutrition services. 13.8 percent of white children have received gastroenterology care compared to the 9 percent of African Americans and 9.9 percent of Hispanics. Minority children according to the study also receive fewer gastroenterology tests including endoscopy and colonoscopy compared to white children.
The discrepancies continue when considering other tests and treatments given to children. The study also shows that neurologic studies, sleep studies and neuropsychiatric tests are not given to Hispanic children as much as they are to white children.
As a result, this study concludes that the statistical differences in treatment might have a lot to do with doctor’s practices. “We found racial and ethnic differences among children diagnosed with autism in use of care and procedures. Possible explanations for these findings include differences in presentation, referral rates, or referral follow through.”
Other studies have also been completed and published by doctors. These other studies focus on the treatment and care provided for African American and Hispanic children with autism. For example, Dr. Sarahbeth Broder-Fingert published a study that says that minority children simply do not have access to specialist. The autism and science advocacy and autism speaks released a campaign to raise awareness about the illness as there research has shown that minority children are not being diagnosed or are being misdiagnosed more frequently than white children. In context what the scope of studies involving race and autism have shown is that black children are receiving less in treatment and care on average compared to white children.