ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and presence of stereotyped behaviors. In a recent review of epidemiological surveys worldwide, the median of prevalence estimates for ASD was 62/10,000. In addition, there was evidence for increased prevalence estimates over time. However, this review could not identify any published data on population-based estimates of ASD from Africa. In an ASD detection program for 18- to 36-month old Zulu-speaking children in South Africa, ASD was found to be underdiagnosed and rarely reported in clinical or educational records. There is virtually no literature regarding the management of ASD in Africa. There is no information regarding treatment with medications. Access to behavioral intervention is available to a small number of children at private schools instituted by parents of children with ASD. In response to these inadequacies, the present proposal seeks funding to hold a 3-day research program on the clinical aspects of childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Africa in an effort to collect the necessary data aimed at determining how to elevate the standard of ASD diagnosis and treatment in sub-Saharan African countries. We will invite a colloquium of specialists from Africa and abroad to discuss optimal identification and treatment for children with ASD in sub-Saharan Africa. The research questions to be focused on will be: (i) what is the status quo of childhood ASD in sub-Saharan Africa based on expert opinion (the colloquium) and available publications? (ii) What guidelines exist for the optimal management of children with ASD through current practice parameters from organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO) and other autism groups? (iii) Are these guidelines viable to current service capacity in sub-Saharan Africa? (iv) What are the areas of knowledge gap in relation to children with ASD in sub-Saharan Africa? (v) What are the best strategies to reduce the treatment gap in children with ASD from sub-Saharan Africa? The research data collected from this workshop and subsequent implementation of changes will be presented in a series of publications.
of this proposal for public health is the potential for collecting the necessary data aimed at determining how to elevate the standard of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis and treatment in sub-Saharan African countries. Moreover, this 3-day meeting will allow the formulation of new strategies aimed at reducing the treatment gap in children with ASD in sub-Saharan Africa.