Autism diagnosis disparities informed by genetics research

John Constantino, MD, and colleagues discussed the social implications surrounding  identifying and diagnosing black children with autism spectrum disorder in a November article in the St. Louis American.  Citing a report from the Center for Disease Control’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, they note that African American children are diagnosed later (at approximately 4 years) than Caucasian children even though parents are expressing concern to their providers at about the same age of the child.  Additionally, black children with autism are at higher risk for intellectual disabilities than Caucasian children, making early diagnosis crucial to their future well-being.

A critical part of an NIMH grant awarded to Dr. Constantino and his collaborators includes applying genomic data as precision medicine interventions as well as genetic/genomic research that will contribute to the national precision medicine effort to discover genetic factors of autism.