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Neurodivergence among People of Color

Season 3 | Episode 8
Airdate: April 2023

Being a person of color in this country comes with a lot of baggage. Living with learning disabilities is no picnic either. So, imagine the child who is both neurodivergent and a person of color. The intersection between race and neurodivergence can be daunting. Black autistic children are twice as likely to be misdiagnosed with conduct disorder, owing, one study found, to deeply rooted perceptions as black children as mischief-makers. Or they are never diagnosed at all. Asian children may go untreated because Asian cultures often see learning disabilities as shameful, a result of poor parenting, or something that can be overcome by working even harder on achieving a good education which is strictly prioritized in many Asian American families. And Latino kids, like African-American children, often receive late diagnoses for autism — leading to them missing out on critical years of early intervention and treatment that could have improved outcomes. Indeed, a 2007 study by the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, found that African-American children were 5.1 times more likely to be misdiagnosed with conduct disorders before receiving the proper diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. On this episode, we explore the challenges one neurodivergent Asian college student faces around lingering stigmas about learning and thinking differences and limiting racial stereotypes. Next, our expert panel looks closer at the twofold challenges that neurodivergent children of color can face and provide strategies to head off the issues that can undercut their ability to succeed and thrive. Later, we’ll introduce you to our latest “Difference Maker,” Armani Williams, a neurodivergent NASCAR driver with a lifelong need for speed.