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Challenges Facing Educators of Children with Autism in Oman From Educators' Perspective: A Qualitative Study

Thursday, 2 May 2013: 14:00-18:00
Banquet Hall (Kursaal Centre)
Y. M. Al-Farsi1, M. F. Al-Said2, M. M. Al-Khaduri3, M. M. Al-Sharbati4, M. I. Waly5, M. Al-Shafaee6, A. Ouhtit7 and S. Al-Adawi8, (1)Family Medicine & Public Health, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khoud, Oman, (2)Sultan Qaboos university, Muscat, Oman, (3)Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman, (4)Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat-Al-Khod, Oman, (5)S.Q.U., Muscat, Oman, (6)squ, Muscat, Oman, (7)Genetics, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman, (8)Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman

Educating children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is challenging, especially in developing countries where awareness about ASD is broadly considered low. Also, developing countries suffer from dearth of scientific evidence that explore factors hampering the quality of service especially those related to local cultures.  


To explore the educators’ views towards hampering factors of delivering high-quality education to children with ASD in Oman, an Arab country in the Middle East.


Semi-structured face to face interviews were conducted among 20 autism educators recruited in two selected centers caring for autism in Muscat Region, the capital of Oman. The qualitative data were analyzed using a framework approach.


Several hampering factors were identified by educators which affect the quality of service. The main reported hurdle is lack of a standard curriculum in Arabic that has been standardized to the local culture. Other obstacles noted were: limited teaching resources, restricted space available, shortage of supportive staff, inconsistent transportation, and the need for trained dietitian for dietary consultations. The educators reported also the urgent need to educate the general public about ASD and to rectify for common misconceptions.


Educators of children with ASD face many challenges related to availability of resources, communication with the society, and the need for logistical support. Governmental and non-governmental authorities are called to consider these challenges from educators perspective, and work on developing a standard curriculum, and provide multi-disciplinary integrative services that would overcome the challenges.

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