Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by impairedsocial interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication, and stereotyped, repetitive behaviors. While the Autism prevalence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is comparable to that observed in other countries, children in the UAE are being diagnosed later as their conditions are not being detected by the available pediatric healthcare oversight protocols or being reported by parents. Pediatricians and parents are at the best vantage point to spot the earliest warning signs of autism. If the disorder is detected in its infancy, early intervention programs can help ameliorate the symptoms significantly. This study provides insight into the important issues impacting autism’s early detection in the UAE, using the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah as a case study to better understand and mitigate local phenomena that might be delaying diagnosis, negatively impacting the future of autistic children and their families.
Recommended citation: Wentz, A. (2020). Early diagnosis of autism in the United Arab Emirates: Autism knowledge and attitudes among primary healthcare providers in Ras Al Khaimah (Policy Paper No. 34). Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.18502/aqf.0134