There are several reasons why the medical industry has been unable to combat the disparities among Black children regarding the diagnosis and prompt treatment of autism.
Lack of access to healthcare
According to the CDC 95.9% of Black children do have medical insurance. However, many of these children are poor and receive healthcare via Medicaid, limiting their options for physicians.
Most children on the autism spectrum require a lot of attention. It can be quite a struggle for two parent families to provide the attention needed. The lack of two parent families in the Black community makes this issue this even more prevalent.
Lack of private doctors
Many parents in the African American community do not have or maintain a "family doctor" they see regularly. Due to the lack of private practice doctors in the Black community. and the growth of public clinics many African American children may see different physicians throughout their childhood. A family doctor who if familiar with the child will have a better chance of noticing changes in the child’s behavior than a doctor seeing them for the first time. Therefore the child would be diagnosed at an earlier age where intervention will be more effective.
Distrust of medical community
The history of health treatment in America towards African Americans has made many Blacks weary of the entire health system. Because of this many Black Americans have learned over time to distrust the medical community. In the past Africans Americans were refused service at some of the better hospitals even in times of serious medical emergencies and forced to travel long distances to receive proper treatment.
As an example, most people point to the Tuskegee experiment where Blacks were purposely refused treatment for syphilis without their knowledge in the name of science. This experiment lasted forty years from 1932 and 1972.
This only applies to some doctors. But some physicians rely too much on stereotypes rather than science to guide their treatment or handling of these patients. Therefore they may look unfavorably towards minority patients due to negative perceptions This may cause them to subconsciously not supply the best care for these patients.
We must make sure our children have health care coverage. Whether it is from a job, a private policy or a government sponsored program. Fortunately most Black children have coverage but their parents are not taking advantage of it.
We must take our children to the doctor regularly and see the same physician if possible. Patients who see the same doctor regularly have an opportunity to build a good relationship with them, therefore receiving higher quality care. This could help counteract any of the perceived stereotypes doctors may have of Africa American children.