”The Massachusetts State Team created a guidebook for Considering Culture in Autism Screening ”

I was an intern for Massachusetts Act Early this summer. This program works to improve autism screening in the state. I went to their Summit in June. There were 56 people from 7 states at the meeting. They discussed the role of culture in Autism screening.

Why talk about culture in Autism Screening?

People in this country are from all over. Some people just moved here. Sometimes they do not speak English well. Often, parents use other languages. The way a culture thinks about how a child grows may not be the same as American culture. So, doctors need to think about culture and language when screening for autism. If not, some children may not be screened or diagnosed.

The meeting involved a training on Autism screening. The training talked about culture. It included the following tips for doctors.

  • Think about the child’s background.
  • Provide screening tools in the child’s language.
  • Have someone translate if needed.

We talked about why it may be hard for a doctor to screen for Autism. We also talked about ways to help detect Autism while thinking about culture. I wrote a
report about the findings of the Summit (PDF).

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