Diana Diaz's Contributions to Autism

Ella Rain
Early detection

Diana Diaz autism role in SARRC (Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center) as its Hispanic Community Relations Specialist has had a significant impact on the autistic community. Her efforts bring to light insight into identifying autism in children in bilingual families. Currently, Rachel McIntosh, BCABA is the Hispanic Outreach Coordinator for SAARC.

Diana Diaz Autism Background

Diana Diaz Holland was an excellent representative for SARRC because she offers a wealth of knowledge in the field as a professional and as the parent of an autistic boy. Diana has first-hand knowledge of the challenges Latino families have in diagnosing autism.

Personal Experience

Diana's experience as a parent of a child with autism is extremely valuable to the Latino community. She knows first-hand about the specific challenges bilingual families face in the early detection of autism and related pervasive developmental disorders. Her son, Sammy, was diagnosed in the autism spectrum but it took about a year for doctors to identify the condition.

Communication and Autistic Disorders

Early detection of autism and related pervasive developmental disorders is of the utmost importance. Among the most significant signs in the autism symptoms checklist is language development and communication. Young children diagnosed in the spectrum, aside from Asperger's syndrome.

Tests such as the Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised address other symptoms of autism in addition to communication. Interviews along with other screening tools are the primary methods of identifying autistic disorders in young children.

Challenges for Bilingual Families

It took roughly a year for doctors to identify Sammy's autism and a number of factors that led to the delay. These factors may be applicable to bilingual families in general.

  • Many pediatricians do not have enough autism training
  • Disparity in health care
  • Language assumptions

The primary problem is language assumptions. Many physicians and parents may attribute the lack of communication and speech delay to having bilingual surroundings. By the time bilingual families receive a diagnosis of autism, they have lost significant opportunities for early intervention.

Diana Diaz Holland's Affiliations

Diana Diaz autism affiliations have had a significant impact on the Latino autistic community. Her devotion to educating families about the early signs of autism and related pervasive developmental disorders is readily apparent in her research and participation in various programs.

Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center

The Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) is a nonprofit organization based in the Phoenix, Arizona community. The outfit offers the following to the autistic population:

  • Educational material
  • Resources
  • Research
  • Training for families and professionals
  • Satellite site for national organizations
  • Services
    • Vocational
    • Educational
    • Clinical

    Educating families about the red flags of autism as early as possible is a major goal of this organization. Diaz Holland's former affiliation with this organization was helpful in alerting the Latino population about autism and early identification.

    Horizonte Interview

    Richard Ruelas interviewed Diana Diaz Holland and Dr. Raun Melmed. Dr. Melmed is the co-founder of SARRC. A recent Horizonte interview outlines her perspective on the obstacles the Hispanic and Latino community faces in dealing with early detection of autism and related pervasive developmental disorders.

    She notes that the median age of children diagnosed with autism is three years old. However, the median age in Arizona is between five and six years. Most of the cases are identified by schools. Diaz Holland asserts that this is due to the obstacles the Latino population faces in mental health.

    Many physicians may blame language and speech delays on the child's confusion while trying to learn two languages simultaneously. She also cites possible cultural barriers including the tendency to follow physician's advice while second-guessing parental intuition.

    Importance of Early Intervention

    Early intervention is crucial to the effective treatment of autistic disorders. Many Latino children do not receive services until they are school-aged. By then, they have lost a window of opportunity for developmental support and guidance. Diana Diaz autism efforts are priceless to the autistic community across the board. .

Diana Diaz's Contributions to Autism