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