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Prevalence and socioeconomic correlates of autism among children attending primary and secondary schools in south east Nigeria

Josephat M. Chinawa, Pius C. Manyike, Elias C. Aniwada, Awoere T. Chinawa, Herbert A. Obu, Odutola I. Odetunde, Ada R.C. Nwokocha, Roland R. Ibekwe

Abstract


Objectives: The objectives of the study were to determine the prevalence and socio-economic determinants of autism among children attending primary and secondary schools in South East, Nigeria.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study that assessed the prevalence and socio-economic pattern of childhood autism among children attending primary and secondary schools in Enugu and Ebonyi states, South East Nigeria. The questionnaire was adapted from American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR, 2000). The study was carried out between June and October, 2014.

The schools were selected by listing all the mixed schools in the urban and semi- urban areas by simple random sampling.

Results: A total of 721 subjects completed the questionnaire. The age of respondents ranged between 3 and 18 years, with mean age of 12.71 and standard deviation of 3.03 years. Twenty one children fulfilled the criteria for autism giving a prevalence of 2.9%. There is a significant association between age in categories (fishers exact test, p = 0.013) and social class (p=0.033).

Conclusion: The prevalence of autism was 2.9%; and the socio-economic characteristics of childhood autism in South East Nigeria are similar to those in other parts of the world.

Keywords: Childhood autism; primary and secondary schools; Nigeria




http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ahs.v16i4.8
AJOL African Journals Online