The Path to an Autism Spectrum Disorders Diagnosis in Ethiopia: Parent Perspective

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Abstract

This study explores the common characteristics of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and the available diagnostic and intervention currently practiced for children with ASDs in Ethiopia based on parents’ experience. Data gathered from 100 parents in Ethiopia detail the difficulties families face when they suspect their child has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The data indicate Ethiopian parents pursued a diagnosis of ASD after noting common ASD behaviors such as hand flapping and unusual attachments to objects. Poor social interactions were the least likely to symptoms to prompt an ASD evaluation. The large majority of parents indicated they were unaware of the services provided to their children and indicated poor parent–agency coordination. Parents noted very limited formal support systems to help cope with the stigma of having a child with ASD. Implication for future research and intervention are discussed.

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