Black children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are diagnosed later than their White peers, are more likely to be misdiagnosed, and are less likely to receive early intervention services or a developmental evaluation by three years old. Using a grounded theory approach, we solicited the perspectives of parents and other primary caregivers of Black children with ASD on barriers and facilitators to ASD screening and referrals in primary care. A socioeconomically diverse sample of 22 female caregivers participated. Four themes emerged. First, while some caregivers noted their child's primary healthcare providers facilitated a timely ASD diagnosis, other participants reported these providers ignored early concerns about child developmental delays. Second, many participants felt racial bias negatively impacted caregiver-primary healthcare provider interactions. Third, legal/custodial issues slowed caregivers' abilities to follow up on referrals from their primary healthcare providers. Finally, caregivers described denial, shame, and stigma relating to ASD in the Black community as possible factors for delayed follow up to referrals. Differences based on socioeconomic status are discussed. Efforts to improve family-centered, culturally relevant care for all Black caregivers raising children with or at-risk for ASD are needed, particularly for those families experiencing the multiple effects of poverty.

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