Cultural Issues

Autism in the African American community has also been affected by cultural differences. Since the Black community in America is so diverse these differences do not apply to all. However these are SOME generalizations that exist in the population.

many African Americans are  more accepting of developmental disabilities than other groups. Part of this has reminisces of religion with the belief that God makes people the way they are. Others may say that the child will "catch up" and will remind others of another family member who at one point was delayed but eventually developed "normally". Therefore there maybe less of an urgency to "fix" a child who appears to be developing differently or slower than there peers.

Family Structure
Today’s two parent families typically have two working parents and fewer children than 20=30 years ago. So not only is there less parent/child interaction on a daily basis, but these parents are not as experienced in child rearing as past generations may have been.

Also because of recent migration patterns of young educated African Americans, many are moving farther away from the older generations.

Today, about 70% of Black children are born into single parent families. Urban America has a very high percentage and concentration of single parent families. This has helped to maintain a culture where parent are forced to spend less time with their children.

Due to the examples above among others, children spend more time in daycare facilities or with other friends or relative most which are not trained to recognize developmental delays such as autism.

It is OK to second guess your families opinion if you suspect your child may be developmentally delayed. If there is something that needs attention its always better and more effective to intervene sooner than later.

As mentioned above it is imperative we stay involved with our children’s education on every level. This poses a challenge for those single parent and two working parent families. However, there are ways to make time and/or adjustments to communicating with the district. Phone calls, emails, notes, and even having a designated family member or friend attend meetings can work.