Pupils with English as an Additional Language
The National Autistic Society report ‘Missing out? Autism, education and ethnecity (2007)’ reported that :
"autism is perceived differently by different communities and sometimes by different members from the same community. This has an impact on the way both parents and professionals respond to a child with autism from a minority ethnic background….."
"…. Some of the developmental milestones used to diagnose ASD are culture-specific. This means that children from BME communities may miss out on a diagnosis or receive a late diagnosis because their families do not recognise differences in their development that are due to an ASD. For example, not making direct eye contact, one of the diagnostic criteria for ASD, is viewed by some people as a sign of respect. In some cultures it is accepted as ‘normal’ if boys do not develop speech until three or four years of age, while in others children are expected to start speaking after two years of age. Stigma around disability can be particularly acute in certain minority ethnic groups and this may result in the reluctance of families to seek a diagnosis for their child. Some languages do not have a word for autism and many interpreters substitute terms that mean ‘mental health’ or ‘learning disability’, which causes confusion for families." Lindsay, G., Pather, S., and Strang, S. (2006). Special educational needs and ethnicity: issues of over and under representation. University of Warwick.
The following case studies highlight the difficulties there can be identifying and supporting young people with autism who have English as an additional language.