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Abstract

Purpose: The present study examined and compared professional assessment and diagnostic practices relating to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Mexico and the United States (U.S.). This information is of great importance because there is an extremely limited amount of information pertaining the assessment and diagnostic practices for ASD in Mexico and little is known about how these practices compare to those in the U.S. Methods: Archival data from a survey investigating ASD in the U.S. and Mexico was used for this study. Participants included 29 professionals from the U.S. and 7 professionals from Mexico. Professionals were from a variety of different occupations, but all reported to be involved in the diagnosis of ASD. Results: In both Mexico and the U.S., most professionals reported use of similar ASD related assessment and diagnostic practices, and ASD related assessment and diagnostic practices were frequently in alignment with current best practices recommendations. However, there were professionals from both Mexico and the U.S. that reported use of diagnostic tools and practices that did not adhere to recommendations, such as, use of outdated versions of the DSM, diagnosis of ASD individually, and evaluation of individuals in one setting. Conclusion: An understanding of the assessment and diagnostic practices currently being used in Mexico and in the U.S. provides both researchers and clinicians with a better understanding of what is being implemented by different professionals. Additionally, an understanding of the assessment and diagnostic practices for ASD in Mexico is of particular importance for professionals practicing in the U.S. as most immigrants in the U.S are from Mexico therefore it is likely professionals in the U.S. will encounter patients on their caseloads that received diagnoses of ASD in Mexico.

Author Bio(s)

Maria F. Valdez, M.S., CCC-SLP is a graduate of the UTRGV. Maria is employed at Bastrop ISD where she provides speech-language assessment and interventions to children with a variety of diagnoses including autism spectrum disorder. Maria is a bilingual certified and licensed speech-language pathologist, specializing in the Hispanic population.

Jessica Stewart, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is an assistant professor at the UTRGV. Dr. Stewart has publications in multiple peer reviewed journals and has provided more than 20 professional presentations. Dr. Stewart’s research interests include early childhood language acquisition with an emphasis on autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Wan-Lin Chang, Ph.D is an assistant professor at UTRGV. Dr. Chang graduated with her Doctorate in Communication from George Mason University. Dr. Chang has publications in peer reviewed journals and has provided more than 40 professional presentations. Her research interests include health promotion, health communication, family communication, and instructional communication.

Ruth Crutchfield, SLP.D., CCC-SLP is associate professor at UTRGV. Dr. Crutchfield graduated with her Doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology in 2010 from Nova Southeastern University. She holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association. Dr. Crutchfield’s research interests stem from her Hispanic heritage and bilingualism.

Ralph Carlson, Ph.D. is a full professor at UTRGV. Dr. Carlson has held various university level positions and was the recipient of the Fulbright Senior Scholar to Brazil in Psychology-Quantitative Science in 2002-2003. Dr. Carlson has multiple publications, and he has presented at numerous local, state, national, and international conferences.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge and thank the professionals that participated in this study and the individuals that served on the thesis committee for Maria Valdez. We would also like to thank Patricia Simms for her assistance with the preparation of this manuscript and Vincente Valdez Gutierrez, Patricia Valdez, Alejandra Valdez, Vincente Valdez, and Joel Mize for their support.

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