Disparities in Supports for Autism in Latino Families: Discussing the research with Cristina Reyes Smith & Catherine Hoyt (CE Course)

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Course Description

Released September 12, 2021 from Aurora, NE

Racial and ethnic health disparities have been heavy on our hearts over the past few years—and they should be.

We have much to reckon with, not only in terms of our own personal biases, but also regarding the structural inequities within healthcare.

In this one-hour, podcast-based CE course, we’ll look at how the Latino community is impacted by disparities around the diagnosis and care of autistic children. We’ll start by exploring some of the latest research on the topic with Catherine R. Hoyt, PhD, OTD, OTR/L and Cristina Reyes Smith, OTD, OTR/L. Then, we’ll discuss practical implications for caring for our autistic clients, including how we can work step-by-step to dismantle the disparities in our healthcare systems.

Supplemental Materials

Primary Research Explored

When you log in, be sure to check out the OT Potential Club’s written breakdown of the following research article, then share your questions and thoughts with fellow practitioners.

Zuckerman, K. E., Lindly, O. J., Reyes, N. M., Chavez, A. E., Macias, K., Smith, K. N., & Reynolds, A. (2017). Disparities in diagnosis and treatment of autism in latino and non-latino white families. Pediatrics, 139(5). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-3010

Secondary Research

Grenier, M.-L., Zafran, H., & Roy, L. (2020). Current landscape of teaching diversity in occupational therapy education: A scoping review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(6). https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.044214

Salsberg, E., Richwine, C., Westergaard, S., Portela Martinez, M., Oyeyemi, T., Vichare, A., & Chen, C. P. (2021). Estimation and comparison of current and FUTURE RACIAL/ETHNIC representation in the US health Care Workforce. JAMA Network Open, 4(3). https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.3789

Learning Objectives

  • You will be able to identify barriers to autism supports that disproportionately impact Latino families.
  • You will be able to recognize how unmet needs for autistic patients vary by ethnicity and English proficiency.


Intro (5 minutes)

Breakdown and analysis of journal article (10 minutes)

  • An introduction to racial disparities in autism care
  • Why was this paper written?
  • What methods did the authors use?
  • What were the results?
  • Authors’ conclusion and recommendations
  • Takeaways for OT practitioners

Discussion on practical implications for OTs (with guests Cristina Smith & Catherine Hoyt) (45 minutes)

  • What were your initial impressions of the article? 
  • Do you have examples of racial and ethnic healthcare disparities in the OT world, based on your own practice?
  • What can we be doing, as occupational therapy professionals, to support early diagnosis of autism for our Latino clients?
  • What are some strategies individuals can use to root out their own biases that might contribute to health disparities? 
  • What are the most important steps our clinics/departments should be taking to address racial and ethnic health disparities? 
  • What are the most important steps our profession should be collectively taking to address health disparities? 

Contact hours

1 hour (0.1 AOTA CEUs)

Target Audience/Educational Level

Our target audience is occupational therapy practitioners who are looking to learn about racial and ethnic health disparities as they relate to evidence based rehabilitation. The educational level is introductory. 

Instructional Methods/Registration/Special Needs Requests/Cancellation Policy

This course is an independent/self-study course delivered via podcast on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. Explore your listening options on the OT Potential Podcast page.

If you need accommodations to take this course, please contact us and we will address your needs on an individual basis.

If this course were to be cancelled, please see our cancellation policy on our terms page.

Course Completion Requirements

In order to receive a certificate for this course, you must first listen to the podcast in its entirety. Then, you will need to take the test (found at the top of this page) and earn 75% or higher. If you pass, a certificate will be automatically generated and sent to your email.


Cristina Reyes Smith, OTD, OTR/L:

Dr. Cristina Reyes Smith is a graduate of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at Thomas Jefferson University and the Masters in Occupational Therapy program at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She has over 15 years of experience in community health promotion, program development, and volunteer service to underserved communities. She currently works as an Assistant Professor and Director of Admissions in the MUSC College of Health Professions (CHP) Division of Occupational Therapy.  She has served as Faculty Advisor for the CHP Student Diversity Leadership Council and CHP Aprendiendo Juntos interprofessional Spanish club. 

Dr. Smith was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the American Occupational Therapy Association beginning in July 2020.  She was also recently invited to serve on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Occupational Therapy Education and officially began this role April 2020.  She has conducted presentations and published articles about workforce diversity; cultural competence and sensitivity; and related topics for local, state, and national venues.  She has also integrated these concepts on campus through presentations, interprofessional course electives, and student research groups.  She coordinates the annual MUSC Culturally Sensitive Care Program open to all MUSC students, faculty, and staff since the Fall of 2018 about the USDHHS National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards.  She also coordinates the annual MUSC Septima P. Clark Poetry Contest for Lowcountry children and youth in honor of the Charleston native and civil rights activist.

Catherine R. Hoyt, PhD, OTD, OTR/L:

Dr. Hoyt (she/her/hers) is the Founding Director and a founding member of COTAD (2014). She focuses on developing strategies to identify effective methods of diversity education and strategic growth of COTAD initiatives to support COTAD’s mission. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation and Participation Science in 2019, after having earned her OTD in 2010 from Washington University School of Medicine.

Dr. Hoyt was part of the 2012 cohort of the AOTA Emerging Leaders program and has served on several volunteer committees to support pediatric practice and future visioning for AOTA. In addition to her growing body of work in research related to early identification and intervention for developmental delay, Dr. Hoyt is also a dedicated clinician and entrepreneur. She has a patent on a pencil grip and several products on the market for pediatric therapy. She is the owner of My Little Sunshine Pediatric Therapy in St. Louis, MO, and serves on the advisory board for Southpaw Enterprises, WearWorks Inc. and STEGA.

Sarah Lyon, OTR/L:


Sarah’s passion is helping fellow OT practitioners translate evidence into daily practice. Sarah earned her BA in religion from St. Olaf College, then earned her master’s degree in occupational therapy from New York University in 2011. Since then, she’s worked in numerous facilities, including a critical access hospital, an acute trauma hospital, and a state inpatient psychiatric hospital.

In 2011, Sarah launched OT Potential because she realized we needed a reliable source of quality occupational therapy-related content and resources. She has also had the opportunity to create content for brands like WebPT, MedBridge, Saebo, and NeuroLutions.

She launched the OT Potential Club in 2019 to marry her love of simplifying complex topics with her desire to help therapists access the most important OT-related research released each year.

Sarah is a prairie girl at heart, which is why she returned to her hometown to raise her children in Aurora, Nebraska (home of the strobe light).

This course was designed to meet your continuing education requirements

Every state, entity, and country has different requirements for what counts as continuing education, and we have done our best to make sure it meets yours. Please double check with particular requirements, and let us know if you have any questions about whether it meets your needs.

NBCOT renewal:
This course is designed to meet the requirements of NBCOT PDUs. But, you are advised to make your own determination as to whether the course will be beneficial to your practice. NBCOT does not endorse any specific professional development units.

See #14 on the NBCOT Renewal Activities Chart to see what this podcast would qualify under. (OT Potential is considered a 3rd party entity.)

We are AOTA approved!!
Works for NBCOT PDUs!

State license renewal (within the US):

Our OT Potential Podcast is intended to meet the requirements for “online” and “independent/self-study” courses. If you have any questions about your particular continuing education requirements, please check with the licensing entity in your state.

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