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Autism spectrum disorders in Africa: current challenges in identification, assessment, and treatment

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  • Kavita Ruparelia
  • Amina Abubakar Ali
  • Eben Badoe
  • Muideen Bakare
  • Karren Visser
  • Diane C. Chugani
  • Harry T. Chugani
  • Kirsten A. Donald
  • Jo M. Wilmshurst
  • Andy Shih
  • David Skuse
  • Charles R. Newton
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Child Neurology
Issue number8
Volume31
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)1018-1026
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date15/03/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders has increased over recent years, however, little is known about the identification and management of autism spectrum disorder in Africa. This report summarizes a workshop on autism spectrum disorder in Africa under the auspices of the International Child Neurology Association and the African Child Neurology Association through guided presentations and working group reports, focusing on identification, diagnosis, management, and community support. A total of 47 delegates participated from 14 African countries. Although there was a huge variability in services across the countries represented, numbers of specialists assessing and managing autism spectrum disorder was small relative to populations served. Strategies were proposed to improve identification, diagnosis, management and support delivery for individuals with autism spectrum disorder across Africa in these culturally diverse, low-resource settings. Emphasis on raising public awareness through community engagement and improving access to information and training in autism spectrum disorder. Special considerations for the cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic factors within Africa are discussed.