Autism Society of Larimer County, Colorado is reaching out to Latino and disadvantaged families with information about the symptoms of Autism and treatment options available for them. Language, cultural, and financial issues make it difficulty for Latino families to get the help they need.
The Society has a new bilingual liaison, Elba Willison, who translates their posters, pamphlets, and other information into Spanish. The Society has also created a helpline for Spanish speakers and is looking for a location for a weekly bilingual support group. The Autism Society is also connecting with schools and other agencies. The Autism Society also aims to expand to Weld County.
A study by the Center for Disease Control shows a 125 percent increase in Autism rates among Latinos in Colorado. Another study, by the University of Pennsylvania’s Health System, School of medicine, found that children from minority groups who have Autism are diagnoses two to five years later than white children.
Kids from disadvantaged groups are often diagnosed later because their parents cannot afford to get them regular checkups. Sometimes Autism goes unrecognized in these children because people think the problem is learning English. Conversely, Spanish speaking children are sometimes mistakenly diagnosed with Autism because they cannot speak English very well.
The goal is for parents to recognize any potential signs of Autism so the child can be treated earlier in the developmental process.