Access to Care Factors Connected to Age at Evaluation for Children Assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorders
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The early identification of children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is important for intervention programs to take place. The goal of this study was to examine the combination of several sociodemographic factors that research has indicated influence the age at which children are evaluated for ASDs. Primary variables of interest included sex, race/ethnicity, urbanicity, maternal education and severity of symptoms. This study analyzed 71 children ranging from 22 to 94 months as part of a database collected by the Autism Clinic at Children's Medical Center Dallas. We found that male children with higher Childhood Autism Rating scores were evaluated at an earlier age. For children diagnosed with ASD, maternal education was the strongest predictor of when a child would be evaluated. There were no differences between boys and girls in symptom severity at the time of evaluation. Implications for early identification of ASD are discussed.