Given the well-documented disparities in access to assessment, diagnosis, and high-quality services for Black autistic individuals, Autism clinicians have a duty to educate themselves about the intersection of anti-Black racism and autism services. Many clinicians wonder what they can do to address anti-Black racism in their settings. Here are some concrete recommendations and resources.
This page was adapted from our open-access (free) paper published in the journal Autism. You can access the paper here:
This page is maintained by Diondra Straiton and Aksheya Sridhar; please email us if you have a resource that you recommend adding to this page.
Recommendations for Anti-Racist Clinical Practice
- Include and amplify Black autistic voices in advisory committees at your organization.
- Continuously learn and acknowledge the ways in which your discipline perpetuates anti-Black racism.
- Recognize that cultural humility is a lifelong process and take actionable steps towards increasing your cultural humility.
- The resources below can help clinicians build their cultural humility.
- Be mindful of the complex pathway (picture below) that Black families must navigate to access and utilize clinical services. Explicitly name instances of racism.
- Advocate for system-level changes at your organization and continually assess and refine changes each year.
- For examples, please see our paper (above)
Wright-Constantine Structured Cultural Interview (WCSCI)
The WCSCI is a structured interview tool to help evaluate the cultural context, development, and influences on an individual and is meant to be utilized by trained clinicians in the evaluation of individuals. It is free for use, though it is currently not allowed to be altered or adapted in any way. You can read more about and access the WCSCI here: Wright-Constantine Structured Cultural Interview (WCSCI) | NYU Steinhardt
Wright, A. J., & Constantine, K. (2020). Wright-Constantine Structured Cultural Interview [WCSCI]. New York, NY: New York University.
Collaborative resource for mental health training
- Bottema-Beutel, K., Kapp, S. K., Lester, J. N., Sasson, N. J., & Hand, B. N. (2021). Avoiding Ableist language: Suggestions for autism researchers. Autism in Adulthood, 3(1), 18–29. https://doi.org/10.1089/aut.2020.0014
- Foronda, C., Baptiste, D.-L., Reinholdt, M. M., & Ousman, K. (2016). Cultural humility: A concept analysis. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 27(3), 210–217. https://doi.org/10.1177/1043659615592677
- Gourdine, R. M., Baffour, T. D., & Teasley, M. (2011). Autism and the African American community. Social Work in Public Health, 26(4), 454–470. https://doi.org/10.1080/19371918.2011.579499
- Harry, B. (2002). Trends and issues in serving culturally diverse families of children with disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 36(3), 132–140. https://doi.org/10.1177/00224669020360030301
- Jones, D. R., Nicolaidis, C., Ellwood, L. J., Garcia, A., Johnson, K. R., Lopez, K., & Waisman, T. (2020). An expert discussion on structural racism in autism research and practice. Autism in Adulthood. https://doi.org/10.1089/aut.2020.29015.drj
- Jones, D. R., & Mandell, D. S. (2020). To address racial disparities in autism research, we must think globally, act locally. Autism, 24(7), 1587–1589. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361320948313
- Morgan, E. H., & Stahmer, A. C. (2021). Narratives of single, black mothers using cultural capital to access autism interventions in schools. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 42(1), 48–65. https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2020.1861927
- Mosley, D. V., Hargons, C. N., Meiller, C., Angyal, B., Wheeler, P., Davis, C., & Stevens-Watkins, D. (2021). Critical consciousness of anti-Black racism: A practical model to prevent and resist racial trauma. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 68(1), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1037/cou0000430
- Wilson, N. M. (2015). Question-asking and advocacy by African American parents at individualized education program meetings: A social and cultural capital perspective. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, 15(2), 36–49. https://doi.org/10.5555/2158-396X.15.2.36
Online training for clinicians:
- Black Disability Studies (free or for continuing education credits): https://www.mitrainingcenter.org/courses/wbdsc0419noce
- Racism as a Public Health Crisis: https://www.mitrainingcenter.org/courses/opp1a0620ce?_ga=2.97972703.1952282224.1622087888-1675886675.1621360300
- Countering Implicit Bias: https://www.mitrainingcenter.org/courses/ibuba1220noce?_ga=2.61135340.1952282224.1622087888-1675886675.1621360300
- Cultural Humility https://ready.web.unc.edu/section-1-foundations/module-8/
- Documentary on cultural humility (30 min): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaSHLbS1V4w&t=482s&ab_channel=VivianChavez
- Free courses/toolkits on cultural humility: https://registrations.publichealthpractice.org/Training/Detail/211
- Autism in Black Families YouTube videos: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXehS00uRKcgblygvZ-kb8sJou3GpNfMY
- Normal with Autism podcast, Autism in Black: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-kbvgp-e2467a?utm_campaign=u_share_ep&utm_medium=dlink&utm_source=u_share
- Normal with Autism, The Catina Way: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-z7nhh-ebc8e0?utm_campaign=u_share_ep&utm_medium=dlink&utm_source=u_share
- The Black Spectrum- https://theblkspectrum.com/
- Resources for families: https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/sites/default/files/resources-and-downloads/resources-to-understand-race-and-racism.pdf
- Autistic Self Advocacy Network: https://autisticadvocacy.org/
- This website is run by a disability rights group of autistic advocates who work to empower autistic people and organize for systems change. Resources include recommended books, policy reports, toolkits for autistic people, and some clinical resources for providers (e.g. sexual health toolkits).
Evaluation and goal setting tools:
- Cultural competence Self-Evaluation Checklist: http://www.coloradoedinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/cultural-competence-self-assessment-checklist.pdf
- Cultural Humility Reflective Journal: https://ready.web.unc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/16627/2019/05/Project-READY-Journal_5_15.pdf
Grenier, M.-L. (2020). Cultural competency and the reproduction of White supremacy in occupational therapy education. Health Education Journal, 79(6), 633–644. https://doi.org/10.1177/0017896920902515
Farias, L., & Simaan, J. (2020). Introduction to the Anti-Racism Virtual Issue of the Journal of Occupational Science. Journal of Occupational Science, 27(s1), 454–459. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2020.1824567
Kronenberg, F. (2020). Commentary on JOS Editorial Board’s Anti-Racism Pledge. Journal of Occupational Science, 27(s1), 398–403. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2020.1827483
Beagan, B. L. (2021). Commentary on racism in occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science, 28(3), 410–413. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2020.1833682