Late Identification of Autistic Disorder in Nigeria: An Illustration with 2 Case Reports
AbstractBackground: Autistic disorder is a severe neuro-developmental disorder.
In recent years, there has been an increased concern about the upsurge
in the prevalence of autism. Psychiatrists and other clinicians have a pivotal role in its identification.
Methods: This is a report of 2 cases of autistic disorder seen at a child and
adolescent psychiatric clinic in Nigeria.
Results: The first case was a boy (17 years) and the second was a girl (14
years). Both cases had severe impairments in social relationships, communication, and behaviour; masked by non-specific autistic symptoms. They were diagnosed late.
Conclusion: The importance of early identification was illustrated. Factors
implicated in late identification include non specific pattern of presentation,
poor level of autism awareness, late referral to specialist centres and
inadequate child psychiatric facilities in Nigeria. These should be reviewed
and given urgent attention.