NEW YORK, May 24, 2023 – With more than 2 million American children having parents that identify as part of LGBTQ community, it is crucial to understand the experiences of bias and discrimination these parents may experience while accessing health care for their children. Previous studies have focused on the experiences of LGBTQ adults who experience systemic barriers and inequity when seeking health care services. A recent article published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care explored the impact of health care bias and discrimination specifically on LGBTQ parents and their children with developmental disabilities.
An estimated one in six U.S. children have a developmental disability (DD) such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Adopted children tend to have high rates of special health care needs, including but not limited to DDs. With same-sex couples being nearly three times more likely to adopt a child on their path to parenthood than a heterosexual couple, there are many LGBTQ parents raising children with various DDs.
“It’s important for health care systems and professionals to be better prepared to provide inclusive, high-quality care to LGBTQ families of children with developmental disabilities,” said Emilee I. Coulter-Thompson, DrPH, LMSW, coauthor of the article.
By surveying parents’ experiences, the study’s authors helped identify specific interventions that might help reduce and eliminate disparities in care. Examples included ensuring that health care forms were inclusive of LGBTQ families while also improving measurements of health indicators. The findings from this study highlight the need for more research in this area as well as policy change and workforce development to improve the health care services for LGBTQ families. By providing comprehensive, safe and affirming environments for all patients and their families, providers may be able to improve health outcomes for these patients.
The full article, titled “Survey of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Parents’ Experiences Accessing Health Care for their Children With Developmental Disabilities” was published in the May/June edition of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care and can be accessed here.