Statement on Racial Disparities in the Autism Community

June 08, 2020

As Autism New Jersey’s mission states, we are committed to ensuring safe and fulfilling lives for individuals with autism, their families, and the professionals who support them. The diagnosis of autism knows no racial, ethnic or cultural boundaries. Yet, the events of recent weeks underscore the fact that racial disparities and barriers persist everywhere including the autism community.

While prevalence studies show great strides have been made in New Jersey, racial disparities in early evaluation and diagnosis exist nationwide. Children of color with autism are not being identified early enough. Additionally, far too many lack access to evidence-based treatment and quality educational services in their communities. Until only recently, autism treatment was not a covered benefit for children in New Jersey whose health insurance is Medicaid/NJ FamilyCare. And direct service professionals working with children and adults with autism, lauded for their dedication during the current COVID-19 crisis, include many people of color barely earning a living wage.

Amidst these realities and at this pivotal crossroads, we stand in support of those speaking out against racism.

We reaffirm our mission to ensure safety and increase access to treatment for the most vulnerable among us including individuals with autism of color and their families who are disenfranchised and whose needs are underrepresented. We look to our common bonds and the power of connection as a source of hope.

~ Staff and Board of Trustees of Autism New Jersey