Prevalence and correlates of autism spectrum disorder in Qatar

a national study

Fouad AlShaban, Mohammed Aldosari, Hawraa Al-Shammari, Saba El-Hag, Iman Ghazal, Mohamed Tolefat, Mogahed Ali, Madeeha Kamal, Nazim Abdel Aati, Mahmoud Abeidah, Ahmad Hassan Saad, Lobna Dekair, Mohanad Al Khasawneh, Katrina Ramsay, Eric Fombonne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Few epidemiological data on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exist for Arabic countries. We conducted the first survey of ASD in Qatar, a population with high consanguinity level. Methods: This cross-sectional survey was conducted from 2015 to 2018 in Qatar school-age children (N = 176,960) from national and immigrant families. Children diagnosed with ASD were identified through medical centers and special needs schools. Records were abstracted and supplemented by parental interviews. Additionally, children attending 93 schools were screened; ASD case status was confirmed in random samples of screen-positive and screen-negative children. Prevalence was estimated after taking into account different sampling fractions and participation rates at each survey phase. Results: One thousand three hundred and ninety-three children already diagnosed with ASD were identified. Among 9,074 school survey participants, 760 screen-negative children and 163 screen-positive children were evaluated; 17 were confirmed to have ASD including five children newly diagnosed. Prevalence was 1.14% (95% CI: 0.89–1.46) among 6- to 11-year-olds. ASD was reported in full siblings/extended relatives in 5.9% (95% CI: 0.042–0.080)/11.8% (95% CI: 0.095–0.146) families. First-degree consanguinity in Qatari cases (45%) was comparable to known population levels. Among 844 ASD cases (mean age: 7.2 years; 81% male), most children experienced language delay (words: 75.1%; phrase speech: 91.4%), and 19.4% reported developmental regression. At the time of the survey, persisting deficits in expressive language (19.4%) and peer interactions (14.0%) were reported in conjunction with behavioral problems (ADHD: 30.2%; anxiety: 11.0%). In multivariate logistic regression, ASD severity was associated with parental consanguinity, gestational diabetes, delay in walking, and developmental regression. Conclusions: ASD prevalence in Qatar is consistent with recent international studies. The methods employed in this study should help designing comparable surveys in the region. We estimated that 187,000 youths under age 20 have ASD in Gulf countries. This figure should assist in planning health and educational services for a young, fast-growing population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

Qatar
Consanguinity
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Population
Language Development Disorders
Child Language
Gestational Diabetes
Walking
Health Services
Siblings

Keywords

  • Arabic
  • autism spectrum disorders
  • child
  • consanguinity
  • epidemiology
  • prevalence
  • regression
  • school age
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Prevalence and correlates of autism spectrum disorder in Qatar : a national study. / AlShaban, Fouad; Aldosari, Mohammed; Al-Shammari, Hawraa; El-Hag, Saba; Ghazal, Iman; Tolefat, Mohamed; Ali, Mogahed; Kamal, Madeeha; Abdel Aati, Nazim; Abeidah, Mahmoud; Saad, Ahmad Hassan; Dekair, Lobna; Al Khasawneh, Mohanad; Ramsay, Katrina; Fombonne, Eric.

In: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

AlShaban, F, Aldosari, M, Al-Shammari, H, El-Hag, S, Ghazal, I, Tolefat, M, Ali, M, Kamal, M, Abdel Aati, N, Abeidah, M, Saad, AH, Dekair, L, Al Khasawneh, M, Ramsay, K & Fombonne, E 2019, 'Prevalence and correlates of autism spectrum disorder in Qatar: a national study', Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.13066
AlShaban, Fouad ; Aldosari, Mohammed ; Al-Shammari, Hawraa ; El-Hag, Saba ; Ghazal, Iman ; Tolefat, Mohamed ; Ali, Mogahed ; Kamal, Madeeha ; Abdel Aati, Nazim ; Abeidah, Mahmoud ; Saad, Ahmad Hassan ; Dekair, Lobna ; Al Khasawneh, Mohanad ; Ramsay, Katrina ; Fombonne, Eric. / Prevalence and correlates of autism spectrum disorder in Qatar : a national study. In: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines. 2019.
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abstract = "Background: Few epidemiological data on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exist for Arabic countries. We conducted the first survey of ASD in Qatar, a population with high consanguinity level. Methods: This cross-sectional survey was conducted from 2015 to 2018 in Qatar school-age children (N = 176,960) from national and immigrant families. Children diagnosed with ASD were identified through medical centers and special needs schools. Records were abstracted and supplemented by parental interviews. Additionally, children attending 93 schools were screened; ASD case status was confirmed in random samples of screen-positive and screen-negative children. Prevalence was estimated after taking into account different sampling fractions and participation rates at each survey phase. Results: One thousand three hundred and ninety-three children already diagnosed with ASD were identified. Among 9,074 school survey participants, 760 screen-negative children and 163 screen-positive children were evaluated; 17 were confirmed to have ASD including five children newly diagnosed. Prevalence was 1.14{\%} (95{\%} CI: 0.89–1.46) among 6- to 11-year-olds. ASD was reported in full siblings/extended relatives in 5.9{\%} (95{\%} CI: 0.042–0.080)/11.8{\%} (95{\%} CI: 0.095–0.146) families. First-degree consanguinity in Qatari cases (45{\%}) was comparable to known population levels. Among 844 ASD cases (mean age: 7.2 years; 81{\%} male), most children experienced language delay (words: 75.1{\%}; phrase speech: 91.4{\%}), and 19.4{\%} reported developmental regression. At the time of the survey, persisting deficits in expressive language (19.4{\%}) and peer interactions (14.0{\%}) were reported in conjunction with behavioral problems (ADHD: 30.2{\%}; anxiety: 11.0{\%}). In multivariate logistic regression, ASD severity was associated with parental consanguinity, gestational diabetes, delay in walking, and developmental regression. Conclusions: ASD prevalence in Qatar is consistent with recent international studies. The methods employed in this study should help designing comparable surveys in the region. We estimated that 187,000 youths under age 20 have ASD in Gulf countries. This figure should assist in planning health and educational services for a young, fast-growing population.",
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T2 - a national study

AU - AlShaban, Fouad

AU - Aldosari, Mohammed

AU - Al-Shammari, Hawraa

AU - El-Hag, Saba

AU - Ghazal, Iman

AU - Tolefat, Mohamed

AU - Ali, Mogahed

AU - Kamal, Madeeha

AU - Abdel Aati, Nazim

AU - Abeidah, Mahmoud

AU - Saad, Ahmad Hassan

AU - Dekair, Lobna

AU - Al Khasawneh, Mohanad

AU - Ramsay, Katrina

AU - Fombonne, Eric

PY - 2019/1/1

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N2 - Background: Few epidemiological data on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exist for Arabic countries. We conducted the first survey of ASD in Qatar, a population with high consanguinity level. Methods: This cross-sectional survey was conducted from 2015 to 2018 in Qatar school-age children (N = 176,960) from national and immigrant families. Children diagnosed with ASD were identified through medical centers and special needs schools. Records were abstracted and supplemented by parental interviews. Additionally, children attending 93 schools were screened; ASD case status was confirmed in random samples of screen-positive and screen-negative children. Prevalence was estimated after taking into account different sampling fractions and participation rates at each survey phase. Results: One thousand three hundred and ninety-three children already diagnosed with ASD were identified. Among 9,074 school survey participants, 760 screen-negative children and 163 screen-positive children were evaluated; 17 were confirmed to have ASD including five children newly diagnosed. Prevalence was 1.14% (95% CI: 0.89–1.46) among 6- to 11-year-olds. ASD was reported in full siblings/extended relatives in 5.9% (95% CI: 0.042–0.080)/11.8% (95% CI: 0.095–0.146) families. First-degree consanguinity in Qatari cases (45%) was comparable to known population levels. Among 844 ASD cases (mean age: 7.2 years; 81% male), most children experienced language delay (words: 75.1%; phrase speech: 91.4%), and 19.4% reported developmental regression. At the time of the survey, persisting deficits in expressive language (19.4%) and peer interactions (14.0%) were reported in conjunction with behavioral problems (ADHD: 30.2%; anxiety: 11.0%). In multivariate logistic regression, ASD severity was associated with parental consanguinity, gestational diabetes, delay in walking, and developmental regression. Conclusions: ASD prevalence in Qatar is consistent with recent international studies. The methods employed in this study should help designing comparable surveys in the region. We estimated that 187,000 youths under age 20 have ASD in Gulf countries. This figure should assist in planning health and educational services for a young, fast-growing population.

AB - Background: Few epidemiological data on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exist for Arabic countries. We conducted the first survey of ASD in Qatar, a population with high consanguinity level. Methods: This cross-sectional survey was conducted from 2015 to 2018 in Qatar school-age children (N = 176,960) from national and immigrant families. Children diagnosed with ASD were identified through medical centers and special needs schools. Records were abstracted and supplemented by parental interviews. Additionally, children attending 93 schools were screened; ASD case status was confirmed in random samples of screen-positive and screen-negative children. Prevalence was estimated after taking into account different sampling fractions and participation rates at each survey phase. Results: One thousand three hundred and ninety-three children already diagnosed with ASD were identified. Among 9,074 school survey participants, 760 screen-negative children and 163 screen-positive children were evaluated; 17 were confirmed to have ASD including five children newly diagnosed. Prevalence was 1.14% (95% CI: 0.89–1.46) among 6- to 11-year-olds. ASD was reported in full siblings/extended relatives in 5.9% (95% CI: 0.042–0.080)/11.8% (95% CI: 0.095–0.146) families. First-degree consanguinity in Qatari cases (45%) was comparable to known population levels. Among 844 ASD cases (mean age: 7.2 years; 81% male), most children experienced language delay (words: 75.1%; phrase speech: 91.4%), and 19.4% reported developmental regression. At the time of the survey, persisting deficits in expressive language (19.4%) and peer interactions (14.0%) were reported in conjunction with behavioral problems (ADHD: 30.2%; anxiety: 11.0%). In multivariate logistic regression, ASD severity was associated with parental consanguinity, gestational diabetes, delay in walking, and developmental regression. Conclusions: ASD prevalence in Qatar is consistent with recent international studies. The methods employed in this study should help designing comparable surveys in the region. We estimated that 187,000 youths under age 20 have ASD in Gulf countries. This figure should assist in planning health and educational services for a young, fast-growing population.

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