Parental Perceptions of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Services in the UAE

Suha Alshuaibat, Karina Soubra, Deena Alhashmi, Fathumo Mohamed, Sarah Moqbel, Saeeda Almarzooqi, Zeinab Alloub, Sandra Willis, Ammar Albanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This qualitative study explored parental perceptions of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) services in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Methods: Forty-one parents of children with ASD participated in five focus groups to explore their experiences with ASD services in the UAE. These moderated focus groups were recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: The following primary themes and subthemes were identified: (a) lack of awareness and support, (b) challenges in accessibility and affordability, (c) inconsistent quality of therapeutic services, and (d) Lack of educational inclusion and support. Conclusion: Findings of this study support the need for creating a comprehensive system of care for ASD that is coordinated, is person centered, and promotes continuity of care that improves the outcomes for those “navigating” the often-fragmented system of ASD in the UAE.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere180823220001
JournalNew Emirates Medical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • ASD
  • Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Parental dissatisfaction
  • Parental perceptions
  • Service users

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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