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Calls to Action

Developmental Differences in Young African American and Caucasian Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

State/Province Full: 
United States

Despite many advances in biomedical and genetics research, ASD diagnoses continue to depend on subjective behavioral observations, and differences in clinician's thoughts and beliefs, which are influenced by cultural factors, may affect recognition of behavioral symptoms and later treatment. At this time, there is very little known about the presentation of autism spectrum disorders in young children from varying cultural and racial backgrounds and ambient culture. Dr. Cleary will specifically examine the cultural differences in diagnosis of autism by studying the differences in the quality of communication behaviors in young African-American and Caucasian children with autism spectrum disorders. This will be done by comparing types and frequency of communicative actions, including gestures, protests, vocalizations and words. In addition, play behavior and eye shifts will also be monitored during structured laboratory observations. Children with ASD from various cultures would be expected to exhibit deficits in social, communication, and behavior development but might differ in presentation. Significance: By examining the influences of the ambient culture on the children's communication behaviors, the proposed project should result in more culturally sensitive practices that contribute to an earlier accurate diagnosis for children from all cultures.