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Earlier diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is related to optimal outcomes (Turner, Stone, Pozdol, & Coonrod, 2006), but may be impacted by demographic variables (e.g., parental income, gender, race; Fountain, King, & Bearman, 2011). The contribution of system-level factors (e.g., service access, type of diagnosing professional, co-occurring conditions) is unclear. This study examined factors impacting age of ASD diagnosis for 105 children (6-17 years-old). Linear regression results indicate children receive ASD diagnoses later if they live in the Midwest United States (β=2.24, p< .05) or another country (β=4.08, p< .05) compared to the Northeast United States. Age of diagnosis was also later for diagnoses by psychologists compared to pediatricians (β=1.54, p< .05), or in cases of co-occurring mood disorders (β=3.02, p< .01). Children who received developmental services (Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy) were diagnosed earlier (β=-1.93, p< .05) compared to those who had never received these services. Unlike past research, parental income, race, and ASD symptom severity were not related to age of ASD diagnosis. Systems-level variables best account for age of ASD diagnosis and should be considered in efforts to reduce barriers to care.



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Factors Impacting Age of Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder