Autism Poses Extra Obstacles for Blacks

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the country. When it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of autism, several studies found some real stumbling blocks for minorities.

David Mandell, assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, authored a study called "Race Differences in the Age at Diagnosis Among Medicaid-Eligible Children With Autism."

Tina Dula is the mother of an autistic child, who founded the "Myles-A-Part" Foundation.

Mandell says every parent should know the following:

- Know the developmental milestones your child should be meeting. The CDC Website is a good resource.

- Trust your instincts. Studies show that parents' concerns about their children's development are often right.

- Talk about your concerns with your child's doctor. Write down your concerns and the reasons you have them ahead of time so that you can explain them clearly.

- Every state has an early intervention program for children under the age 5. Parents can call themselves and get an evaluation, even if their child doesn't have a diagnosis.

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