Hispanic Community Outreach

Our Hispanic Outreach Program

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 1 in 64 children in Arizona are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Current prevalence estimates reflect a 78% increase across all children with a 110% increase among Hispanic children. On average in Arizona, a child is diagnosed at 5 years 3 months--almost 2 years older than the national average. Hispanic children are even more likely to be misdiagnosed or receive a diagnosis later in life.

SARRC's Hispanic Outreach Program began in May 2007 to raise public awareness and alert the Hispanic Community to the signs of autism in an effort to increase early identification, early diagnosis, and access to culturally-sensitive interventions. Raising awareness in the Hispanic Community is essential for ensuring Hispanic families have access to early intervention, which can make a bigger impact over the child’s lifespan and provide families with the tools and resources they need.

Specific Challenges for the Hispanic Community

  • Communication delays in children may be incorrectly attributed to exposure to two languages instead of recognized as an early sign of autism.
  • Spanish-speaking families face language barriers when trying to access services and navigate the world of autism.
  • Compared to English-speaking families, Spanish-speaking families often require nearly three times as many visits before a diagnosis is made because of language and cultural barriers and a lack of certified, bi-lingual professionals.

Current Hispanic Outreach Activities

  • Educational workshops for families, professionals, and support organizations in the Hispanic community
  • Individualized treatment programs available to Spanish-speaking families
  • Increased media coverage within the Hispanic community
  • Informational materials in Spanish at community health fairs and events

For more information, please contact Pilar Dowling, Project Coordinator (602) 340-8717 or pdowling@autismcenter.org.