HealthDay News — Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remains underdiagnosed in black and Hispanic children, according to a study published online in Autism Research.

Lisa D. Wiggins, PhD, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed how many children met an ASD surveillance definition but had no clinical diagnosis of ASD in health or education records. Differences in demographic, individual, and service factors between children with and without a documented ASD diagnosis were evaluated using ASD surveillance data from selected areas of Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

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The researchers found that among 4,498 children, 25 percent had ASD indicators without having an ASD diagnosis. Of the 1,135 children without a documented ASD diagnosis, 55 percent were not known to receive ASD services in public school. Nonwhite race, no intellectual disability, older age at first developmental concern, older age at first developmental evaluation, special education eligibility other than ASD, and need for fewer supports were factors associated with not having a clinical diagnosis of ASD.

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“These results highlight the importance of reducing disparities in the diagnosis of children with ASD characteristics so that appropriate interventions can be promoted across communities,” the authors write.

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