Parent and Professional Experiences Supporting African-American Children with Autism

  • Jamie N. PearsonEmail author
  • Hedda Meadan
  • Kayla M. Malone
  • Braelan M. Martin


While the identification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has stabilized at 1 in 59 children in the USA, and children can now be diagnosed reliably with ASD at 2 years old, African-American children are less likely to be diagnosed with ASD. Once African-American children with ASD are identified, there is a latency between diagnosis and access to services when compared to European American children. In an effort to investigate these disparities, this qualitative study explored the experiences and perceptions of African-American parents of children with ASD. This study also explored the experiences and perceptions of professionals who support African-American children with ASD and their families. Findings indicate that (a) participants identified few facilitators to service access, and (b) both parents and healthcare providers perceived similar barriers and facilitators to early diagnoses and service access. Implications for parents, healthcare providers, and educators are discussed.


African-American children Autism spectrum disorder Healthcare Disparities Access to services 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teacher Education and Learning SciencesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  3. 3.University of Northern ColoradoGreeleyUSA

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