Protecting Our Niños: Latino Kids are Less Likely to be Diagnosed with Learning Disabilities

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According to a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, developmental disorders are on the rise in the United States, with one in six children and teens suffering from autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But there's one group of kids that is less likely to be diagnosed with a learning disability: Latinos. 

Before we let out a collective sigh of relief, we have to underline that these findings are based on diagnosed cases. Meaning that, while 10 million children were diagnosed with a disability from 2006 to 2008, many of our children (especially those of illegal immigrants) may have fallen off the radar because of poor access to healthcare and cultural misinterpretations of autism and ADHD as simple misbehavior. 
 
Thankfully, the study does point to an increased overall awareness by parents, health officials and teachers, which will hopefully spur more parents to have their kids screened if they notice unusual behavior. Common symptoms of ADHD are the inability to focus, hyperactivity and impulsiveness and signs of autism include trouble interacting and communicating with others.
 
Researchers suggest that the increase in disabilities may be due to people having babies at an advanced age, the use of fertility treatments and premature births. The full survey can be found in the June issue of Pediatrics magazine. In the meantime, here are some links on where to get help. 
 
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
  
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health & Human Development
 
Autism Research Institute

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About this author1

Grace Bastidas, Deputy Editor

Born and raised in Queens, New York, where more languages are spoken than anywhere in the world, Grace Bastidas is Latina’s Deputy Editor. She oversees lifestyle content, including topics as diverse as career, health and relationships, and occasionally writes about her own experiences in The Good Life section. As a writer, Grace’s work has appeared in The New York TimesNew York magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. She is fluent in Spanish.

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