Minority-language speakers face healthcare disparities. These disparities occur in accessing and receiving healthcare services compared to those who speak a majority language in their area. However, we know little about the barriers faced by minority-language speakers on the autism spectrum.

To investigate, a partnership was formed drawing on strengths from community representatives and researchers. Partners include Autism Alliance of Canada, researchers from McGill University, Nipissing University, and Dalhousie University, caregivers, Autistic adults, clinicians, and community groups. All are minority-language speakers or work with Autistic persons who are minority-language speakers.

A team co-led by Postdoctoral Fellow and Speech-Language Pathologist Dr. Myriam L. H. Beauchamp and neuropsychologist Dr. Julie Scorah, and in partnership with Dr. Jonathan Lai, Executive Director of Autism Alliance of Canada, will address two main questions:

  1. Do Autistic children and their families who are minority-language speakers experience barriers in accessing healthcare services?
  2. Is there a difference in the quality of the healthcare services they receive?

The aim of this project is to capture the lived experiences of people on the spectrum and their families through focus groups. These will include caregivers and autistic adults who are all minority-language speakers. Other stakeholders including clinicians, administrators, and community groups who work closely with people on the spectrum who are minority-language speakers will also take part. The project’s findings will inform decision-makers about the barriers to accessing healthcare and help increase equity in the healthcare system between majority and minority-language speakers across Canada.

“Our findings will potentially lead to concrete improvements in the ability of people on the spectrum who are minority-language speakers to access and receive healthcare services that are equitable.”

Dr. Myriam L. H. Beauchamp, Postdoctoral Fellow and Speech-Language Pathologist

For the purposes of this project, minority-language speakers are defined as someone who speaks a language other than the majority language in that area. As a cross-Canada initiative, what constitutes a minority-language speaker will differ based on the individual’s location.

To learn more about how you can participate, visit: www.autismalliance.ca/minority-language-recruiting.