Current Studies

Parents Taking Action

One in 67 children is diagnosed with autism. Autism is a developmental disorder that can present impairments in communication, social skills, and behavior. Without intervention, these impairments persist over time and lead to worsened child and family outcomes. For Latinos, the largest minority group in the United States and the fastest growing autism population, there are significant challenges to accessing autism treatments and services. These challenges lead to treatment and service disparities which are even more pronounced for Latino children with autism from immigrant families.

Cultural Equivalence of Autism Assessment for Latino Children

This study examines the cultural equivalence of the Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R) for a US Latino population. The study has three aims: (1) to assess the reliability of the ADI-R Spanish version among Spanish speaking parents of children with autism and intellectual disabilities; (2) To investigate the validity of the ADI-R in a sample of Latino parents of children with autism and intellectual disabilities; and (3) To investigate the meaning and perceived severity of symptoms in relation to the norms of the participant’s family and culture.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Children’s Early Diagnostic and Health Services

The Institutes of Medicine’s (2002) Unequal Treatment report synthesized an extensive body of research and found that in contrast to Whites, racial and ethnic minorities obtain less needed health care and receive worse quality health services, even after controlling for insurance, income, age, and severity of conditions.1 The inequity of these persistent and pervasive disparities represents a major public health problem in the United States. Our proposal will investigate racial and ethnic disparities in pathways to diagnosis and early service utilization within the vulnerable population of children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Promoting Participation among Latino Children with ASD

The focus of this pilot family-directed intervention is to increase participation in everyday activities among preschool age Latino children with ASD. Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. and Latino children represent one of the fastest growing populations diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in the country. Yet these children and their families experience significant challenges related to getting diagnosed, accessing treatments, and utilizing community-based resources. These families face multiple barriers to accessing information about ASD and evidenced-based interventions, including limited language proficiency, low parental education and income, and limited access to key networks. Thus Latino children with ASD from immigrant families are at high risk of treatment, service, and outcome disparities. Consequently, there is an urgent need for family empowerment and education interventions targeted at immigrant Latino parents of young children with ASD.

Longitudinal Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disability Study (LHIDDS)

This project, which is led by Drs. Kelly Hsieh and Sandra Magaña, at the University of Illinois at Chicago, aims to engage adults (aged 18 and older) with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, caregivers, or workers – especially those from diverse backgrounds – to participate in a five year study on health behaviors by completing a survey once every two years. Upon completing each survey, a $5 Subway gift card will be given as a small token of our appreciation. We encourage you to share this opportunity with people who might be interested, as this is an important study. The more people that participate, the more we will contribute to what is known about health behaviors of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities over time.To learn more about the study and register, please visit the LHIDDS website or call Sumithra Murthy at (312) 355-1396.