LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Dr. Jerry Hu is a sleep dentist in the valley and takes pride in being a dad, he knows the challenges when it comes to raising kids and the bigger challenge when a child is on the spectrum.

“Well being a minority myself, I have 3 boys,” explained Dr. Hu. “My youngest, he was a premie baby and he had some issues with autism, autism spectrum disorder, and in the past without the education or resources, treatment options available, it’s even harder.”

That’s why Dr. Hu is advocating autism awareness in minority communities.

“I really want to be impactful and make that needle move forward in terms of healthcare and change for our community,” said Dr. Hu.

A new CDC report finds 1 in 36 children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder in the United States.

For the first time, the percentage of Asian, black, and Hispanic children diagnosed was higher than among white children.

Dinisha Mingo, a qualified mental health associate and director of Mingo Health Solutions says autism education is the first step.

“So the lack of behaviors that children on the spectrum exhibit are misinterpreted as maybe being disobedient, aggressive, or dramatic because they don’t know. Part of why they don’t know is because people of color particularly black people tend to get that diagnosis later in life,” said Mingo.

Mingo said early intervention is the biggest key in managing autism and is pushing for easier access as some families may not have affordable healthcare.

“Going to someone and being able to pay for that diagnosis in order to get into treatment becomes another barrier because there aren’t enough providers in general and not enough minority providers where families can feel a sense of safety and trust,” added Mingo.

For Dr. Hu said managing his son’s autism is now much easier with the proper healthcare nutrition and sleep routine,

“This is my child now, he’s in gymnastics, he’s in school and has friends and sleepovers and that’s what we want and because I think I intervened so early, I did malfunction therapy and I expanded his airway,” explained Dr. Hu. “What parent wouldn’t want to do everything and anything for their child?

Mingo Health Solutions also offers free autism support groups online as well as free parent training groups.

“We offer in-clinic and in-home services so you have an opportunity to find what’s best for your family and your needs so you can come over to us if you already have that diagnosis. If you don’t have that diagnosis, we can refer you out to some trusted doctors,” said Mingo. “Unfortunately there are some long wait lists. We can also refer you to other resources such as the autism assistance program. We are culturally sensitive and culturally competent and very supportive of the different things our families deal with.”

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