Clinical Profiles of Black and White Children Referred for Autism Diagnosis

Eric Fombonne, Katharine E. Zuckerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Black children with autism are diagnosed at an older age. Whether or not late detection is paralleled by differing clinical presentation is not known. We evaluated symptom profiles of 245 Black and 488 sex- and age-matched White non-Hispanic participants (82.8% male; mean age: 4.2 years) referred for ASD diagnosis. Both groups showed similar overall levels of autistic symptoms. Black children had significantly but slightly lower scores on cognitive tests and on the Vineland communication domain than White children. Groups were comparable on internalizing and externalizing co-occurring problems. Given the largely similar clinical profiles, clinical differences in initial presentation may not be a primary reason for Black/White disparities in diagnostic and services use. Limitations of a cross-sectional referred sample are acknowledged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1120-1130
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of autism and developmental disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Adaptive behavior
  • African-American
  • Autism
  • Behavioral problem
  • Emotional problem
  • Intellectual functioning
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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