Child Mental Health Forum - Alice Carter, Ph.D.
Addressing Health Disparities in Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Alice Carter, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology
University of Massachusetts Boston
Dr. Carter will present findings from a screening initiative conducted in partnership with three Boston-based early intervention agencies that was initiated to address health disparities in age of ASD detection. Despite heightened emphasis on screening and early detection of ASD in pediatric and early education settings, children from marginalized and underprivileged demographic groups are less likely to receive ASD diagnoses, particularly at young ages. Specifically, children from non-Hispanic/Latinx white and higher socioeconomic status groups are more likely to receive early screening and diagnosis of ASD whereas children identified as racial and ethnic minorities, and those from immigrant and/or socioeconomically-disadvantaged families, are less likely to be screened for ASD, referred for an ASD evaluation, or diagnosed with ASD. Given preliminary evidence that universal screening can reduce health disparities and that health disparities in ASD diagnosis exist even for families who have accessed the early intervention system, we are examining whether systematic screening of children in early intervention can increase early detection and reduce health disparities in age of ASD diagnosis. This talk will address lessons learned from this implementation and dissemination study, including benefits of applying health engineering methods to assess implementation.
Target Audience: Physicians (psychiatrists, pediatricians, child neurologists), psychologists, social workers, other mental health clinicians and researchers, and students and trainees.
Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:
- Recognize that there are health disparities in age of ASD identification
- Consider whether they can improve their own practice to limit structural or systemic biases that increase such disparities