Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Qatar:Profiles and Correlates of a Large Clinical Sample
Objectives: The aim of the current study was to describe cases within one of the country’s largest special needs centers, the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs. The current study evaluated clinical profiles of ASD and their correlates.
Methods: The methodology of the current study was designed to review cases of ASD within Shafallah Center for Individuals with Special Needs between the years of 2011-2015.A total of 171 cases of ASD were identified, The analysis included the following factors; nationality, age, gender, socio-economic status, consanguinity, prenatal/postnatal complications, and comorbidities.
80% of the identified cases were males, with a 4:1 male to female ratio. Additionally, 83% of the families had one proband, 9.9% had 2 probands, and 7.1% more than two. Comorbid conditions included; Intellectual Disabilities (ID) in 83% and Epilepsy in 18.8%. 76.6% of subjects were non-verbal. There were 3 (1.8%) children with Rett’s Syndrome, 3 (1.8%) with Fragile X, and 1 (0.6%) with Tuberous Sclerosis. The effect of consanguinity as a risk factor was not found to be significant as only 40% of the participant’s parents were consanguineous compared to 54% consanguinity rate among general population in Qatar.
Conclusions: In conclusion, the current study is the first attempt at the clinical characterization of ASD in Qatar. This study provides insights to the similarities and discrepancies to what has been noted in other parts of the world and supports the need for a prospective epidemiological study in this population, such a study might contribute to expanding our knowledge of ASD.