Graduation Year


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies

Program or Major

Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies

Faculty Advisor

Susan Scully-Hill


Previous studies have produced evidence that a disparity exists in the identification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. The findings of these studies suggest that in the United States, having a White, non-marginalized identity can serve as a facilitator to receiving an earlier and more accurate diagnosis, or any diagnosis at all. The present study examined four recent peer-reviewed articles and one dissertation which explore the role of diversity in ASD diagnosis, specifically the ways in which cultural factors may impact caregivers’ interpretations and reports of symptoms, and pursuit of services for their child. The goal of this meta analysis was to understand potential reasons why caregivers of diverse backgrounds may respond to the same symptoms differently. Four themes were identified as possible factors which may dissuade those from marginalized identities from reporting symptoms and seeking services. These themes include decreased awareness of ASD, decreased trust in mainstream healthcare, cultural stigma surrounding disability, and varying cultural perceptions of the symptoms. It is necessary for human services workers, educators, and healthcare providers to be keenly aware of the implications of cultural differences on screening for diagnoses and for intervention systems to be accessible and inclusive for all, if this issue is to be remedied.