Educational classifications of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability among school-aged children in North Carolina: Associations with race, rurality, and resource availability.
Disparities exist in the recognition of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID) in racial/ethnic minorities in the United States. This study examined whether rurality, race/ethnicity, and low resource availability are associated with disparities in primary educational classifications of ASD and ID in North Carolina (NC). Descriptive maps were created. Multilevel logistic regression models examined two separate outcomes (mild ID vs. ASD; moderate/severe ID vs. ASD). For the interaction term included in the model (race/ethnicity and residence), predicted probabilities were estimated and plotted. The effects of other covariates were also estimated. Rural counties had fewer students with ASD and a greater number of students with ID compared to urban counties. The majority of students with ASD were non-Hispanic Whites, while the majority of students with ID were non-Hispanic Blacks. Compared to non-Hispanic White students, non-Hispanic Black students were overrepresented in the ID classification and underrepresented in the ASD classification across urban and rural areas. Indicators of low resource availability were also associated with higher probabilities of ID vs. ASD classification. Differences in primary educational classification based on urban-rural divide, race/ethnicity, and resource availability are important to understand as they may point to disparities that could have significant policy and service implications. Because disparities manifest through complex interactions between environmental, socioeconomic and system-level factors, reduction in these disparities will require broader approaches that address structural determinants. Future research should utilize disparity frameworks to understand differences in primary educational classifications of ASD and ID in the context of race/ethnicity and rurality. LAY SUMMARY: Rural counties in North Carolina had fewer students with ASD and a greater number of students with ID compared to urban counties. Compared to non-Hispanic White students, non-Hispanic Black students were over-represented in the ID educational classification and underrepresented in the ASD classification. Differences in classification of ASD and ID based on urban-rural divide, race/ethnicity, and resource availability may point to disparities that could have significant policy and service implications. Autism Res 2021, 14: 1046-1060. © 2021 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals LLC.
Kim, ET; Franz, L; Fannin, DK; Howard, J; Maslow, G
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