Autismo in The Latino Community

Emily feels both a bond and a commitment to the Spanish-speaking autism community. When she was just starting out in her autism journey around 1996, she quickly realized that Spanish-speaking families did not have access to the information and support they needed to help their children. While she progressed in her own education and advocacy and made friends with many Latino families, she kept this great need in mind and made a personal commitment to help Hispanic families.

After writing Autism Spectrum Disorders from A to Z with her sister Barbara Doyle, Emily translated and published the Spanish version, Los Trastornos del Espectro de Autismo de la A a la Z. As the most comprehensive book on autism available in Spanish, “Los TEA” was honored as the Outstanding Literary Work of 2006 by the Autism Society of America and received the Exceptional Parent Magazine Symbol of Excellence in 2007.

When Emily started her Master’s degree in 2005, she was dismayed by the clear inequities in education and services for Latino children with autism. She decided to identify the obstacles faced by Latina mothers in their efforts to help their children. Identifying obstacles is the first step in remedy and overcome them. Her thesis on the obstacles faced by Latina mothers of children with autism was the largest study to date of this population. Significant findings, including gaps in information and services, can give direction to those wishing to improve the situation. The survey instruments she developed for her study have been used by researchers in different parts of the world. Her study has been replicated several times (in press).

Emily co-authored By Understanding Autism, I Can Better Understand My Child, a parent training manual designed for Latino parents of newly diagnosed children with autism. Emily is currently a collaborator with Dr. Sandy Magaña on a new project to help Latino immigrant parents of children with autism. She is currently a coordinator on the Parents Taking Action study. This randomized, controlled study is measuring the effectiveness of in-home parent training to help Latino parents of children with autism. Emily trains and supervises the promotoras (mentors) who deliver the parent education modules.

For more than a decade, Emily collaborated with Fiesta Educativa in Los Angeles. She authored and conducted APEP parent education workshops to help parents and raise autism awareness in the Latino community.

Emily presents webinars and trainings about equity and diversity, and developing cultural competence to serve diverse communities.

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