December 1, 2020 The need for Culturally appropriate interventions for ASD
Autism Spectrum Disorder affects children of all races and cultures, however, the interventions developed for autism are primarily tested on Caucasians, economically sound and English-speaking populations. As a result, culturally and ethnically diverse populations are not appropriately represented in the research for autism.
Despina Papoudi, an autism researcher published a study in Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders in 2020 which discussed the needs , perceptions and experiences of multicultural families of autistic children in the UK and the US. The findings revealed that the African American and Latino children in US, on the autistic spectrum are less likely to get an early diagnosis of autism than the Caucasian children and also tend to have lesser autism interventions directed at them.
There are significant disparities in access to healthcare in the ethnically diverse communities.
Culturally sensitive Interventions – Need of the hour
Behavioral interventions should be tailored to suit the unique linguistic and cultural values and beliefs for the ethnic population. Alignment of values ensures wider participation and comfort of the children in adopting the positive behaviors.
For example, an intervention with Spanish speaking behavioral therapists for ABA therapy for Latino children on ASD will lead to greater comfort for the child as well the caregivers and lead to better health outcomes.
If the services do not take into account the cultural beliefs of the family, then it may create conflicts which will lead to the services being discontinued in the long run.
Parent mediated Interventions
Involving the parents and training them to use the behavioral modification strategies on their children on the autistic spectrum is a very effective method to ensure cultural sensitivity is adhered to in long run.
It is cost effective and enhances the parent child bond in the natural environment of the child’s home and is congruent with the values and culture the family is familiar with.
- DuBay, M., Watson, L. R., & Zhang, W. (2018). In Search of Culturally Appropriate Autism Interventions: Perspectives of Latino Caregivers. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 48(5), 1623–1639. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3394-8
- Papoudi, D., Jørgensen, C.R., Guldberg, K. et al. Perceptions, Experiences, and Needs of Parents of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children with Autism: a Scoping Review. Rev J Autism Dev Disord (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40489-020-00210-1