Age of Autism Diagnosis Improves Across Racial and Ethnic Lines

November 14, 2022

New Research Shows Age of Diagnosis Consistent Across Racial and Ethnic Groups

Racial disparities in autism prevalence and age of autism diagnosis have been highlighted in the autism community for years. Previous research showed that White children were approximately 19% more likely than Black children and 65% more likely than Hispanic children to be diagnosed with autism. Recently published research in JAMA reveals these disparities may be disappearing. The team behind this current study analyzed data from Cosmos, a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act–defined limited data set using deidentified electronic health record (EHR) data from more than 140 million patients across 50 states. They determined the median age of diagnosis across racial and ethnic groups by examing the EHR data for patients aged eight years with an autism diagnosis by 2021. The study population included almost 1.5 million patients (4% Asian or Other Pacific Islander, 18% Black, 21% Hispanic, and 56% White). In 2017, the prevalence rate of autism diagnosis in Black children was 2.05% compared with 2.30% for White children. However, four years later, in 2021, the prevalence rate in Black children was 4.01% compared with 3.89% in White children. Ultimately, the authors found that the age of diagnosis was consistent across racial and ethnic groups. At the end of the study period, the median age at diagnosis in all groups was between 4.4 and 4.9 years, with the youngest mean age at diagnosis of 4.49 years in Asian children and the oldest mean age of 4.97 years in White children. The estimate for Black children was 4.89 years, and for Hispanic children was 4.77 years. The authors suggest that the improvement in these racial and ethnic disparities could be due to more effective outreach to underserved communities and efforts to improve autism screenings overall. 

Original Study

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons