Examination of Current Needs for ASD Specific Services in Saudi Arabia

Saturday, May 13, 2017: 12:00 PM-1:40 PM
Golden Gate Ballroom (Marriott Marquis Hotel)
R. Alrajhi1 and D. Dimitriou2, (1)Lifespan Learning and Sleep Lab, Institute of Education UCL, London, United Kingdom, (2)UCL, Institute of Education, London, England, United Kingdom
Background: Saudi Arabia society consists of three main geographies: urban, rural and Badia, which is the desert, inhabited by people called Bedouin, where the healthcare, education and population decreases respectively. This indicates wide diversity with a high population of children and adolescents. This vast difference between the three regions may have a fundamental impact on the individuals with ASD and their families. As a result the services demands may differ as well.

Objectives: The current study aimed to gather data on current services and needs of families with ASD children. The research investigated a number of environmental variables such as family size (nuclear and extended), number of children in the family, number of the children with developmental disorder, number of the children with ASD, gender of the ASD child, the child’ order in the family, family income, and the parents’ demographic information.

Methods: Mixed methodology was used in this study. Qualitative methods represented as a focus group and quantitative methods as a survey. The methods was conducted in Riyadh/ Saudi Arabia targeting parents of ASD children. The stages of the study were twofold: first phase, parents of children with ASD were invited to take part in the focus group. The purpose of this qualitative method is to identify the parents’ most essential needs. One focus groups was conducted. Number of needs and required services was collected. In the second phase, four mother of children with ASD and four mothers of children diagnosed with other developmental disorders, namely: ADHD (2 mothers), language delay 91 mother) and Bardley Bidel (1 mother) were approached and completed the survey.

Results: The current study showed a significant limitation of the current services available in the country. One of the most frequently used programmes was ABA, yet this was also very limited. Mothers indicated that more services and better understanding about the ASD is needed.

Conclusions: ASD is not well recognised in many countries. In Saudi Arabia, ASD is gaining more attention and studies are underway to examine the needs of the families.