Factors Effecting the Age at Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Providing the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) diagnosis early in childhood warrants access to early intervention programs, yet many children are not diagnosed until later in life. While extensive buddy of research is available about factors affecting the age at ASD diagnosis in the western countries, little attention has been directed toward this area of research in Middle Eastern countries.
This study attempted to bridge the gap by identifying these factors among children with ASD in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
Regarding access to and use of services, survey data were collected from 205 caregivers of children with ASD in the KSA or of Saudi citizenships in other counties and were younger than 21 years. Multivariate regression analysis was utilized to characterize the associations of clinical and demographics predictors with the age at diagnosis.
Results: The median age at diagnosis was 3.0 years and was strongly predicted by residing outside the KSA followed by the having no comorbidity, engaging in challenging behavior in first two years, not responding to name in the first two years, and the child age.
Establishing public laws to ensure access to early developmental screening and comprehensive diagnostic evaluation along with utilizing video-conferencing to provide diagnostic services have the potential to ameliorate disparities in the age at diagnosis in the KSA.