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
Keywords: Childhood autism, primary and secondary schools, Nigeria

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

Published
2017-03-07
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 1680-6905