Investigating the early signs of ASD in preschool children in the UAE as a model for GCC countries

Omniah AlQahtani, Maria Efstratopoulou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Identifying autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children’s early years significantly impacts their academic performance and future life. It allows them to receive special support services and the required early intervention. Preschool teachers spend considerable time with their students, which allows them to observe their behaviors in different settings like classrooms and playgrounds. However, teachers need to be knowledgeable of ASD early assessment to detect them. Whereas, all well-known ASD assessment tools are designed for populations from different cultures than the Gulf Cooperation Councils' (GCC) culture. This study emphasizes the importance of preschool age, from 3 to 5, in indicating children's early signs of ASD. This paper aims to indicate the early signs of ASD in preschool children in the UAE as a model for other GCC countries. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative method consisting of interviews with preschool teachers and the ASD children’s parents was conducted to investigate the ASD early symptoms in children. Findings: The findings of the study show that there is a direct connection between the opinions expressed by preschool teachers and the parents of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). These results also highlight the presence of early indications of ASD among preschool-aged children in the United Arab Emirates, such as difficulties in communication, repetitive actions, delayed speech, excessive focus on tablets, trouble paying attention, hyperactivity, sleep problems, and aggressive behavior. Originality/value: The outcomes suggest a strong connection between the feedback from preschool teachers and the parents of children with ASD. The study uncovers initial indications of ASD in preschool-aged children from the United Arab Emirates, such as difficulties in communication, repetitive actions, delayed speech, excessive fascination with tablets, problems with attention, hyperactivity, sleep disturbances, and aggressive behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-37
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Autism
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 13 2024

Keywords

  • ASD
  • Early symptoms
  • GCC
  • Parents
  • Preschool
  • Teachers
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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