Autism affects people across the globe and is not limited to one’s age, race or family background. Over the past few decades, researchers have dedicated their efforts and resources to identify barriers to autism services. They are:
1. Community and Cultural Factors
African-American children are less likely to receive diagnosis at an early age hence missing out on early interventions that affects a child’s development. Due to cultural factors in black communities, a child who exhibits unusual and disruptive behaviors is considered mannerless and a sign of bad parenting.
2. Financial Barriers
Medical costs and non-medical costs of children living with ASD are higher than those of children living with other developmental disabilities. Children with ASD require special attention in terms of school childcare settings and transportation arrangements. Black communities struggling to eke out a living may struggle to access these basic services for children living with ASD.
3. Systemic Barriers
These include lack of coordination between agencies and failure by pediatricians to refer children with ASD for further treatment. Some pediatricians are reluctant to refer children showing less severe symptoms for diagnosis and early treatment. Lack of access to pediatricians especially among children living in child protective services. Black mothers also describe the process of diagnosis and treatment as stressful and lengthy.
Treating children living with ASD is expensive. National data indicate that there is high usage by children with ASD compared to children living with other developmental disorders. High costs of treatment cover psychiatric services and prescription medication. Lack of insurance among some low-income black families hinders access to diagnosis and treatment of autism.
Parents of autism spectrum disorder children face isolation, humiliation and exclusion. Children with ASD may show aggression therefore, making it difficult for the parents to handle such children. Moreover, autistic children are isolated by other children due to lack of awareness and knowledge on autism.