Parenting children with autism spectrum disorder in the United Arab Emirates: Exploring perceptions towards using the picture exchange communication system to enhance the development of children with autism spectrum disorder

Mohammed F. Safi, Mariam Alshamsi, Maxwell Peprah Opoku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an interplay between biological, social and environmental factors that impact the development of individuals. However, core characteristics are social, communication and behaviour challenges that restrict children’s participation in society. Consequently, there are discussions regarding the need for society to develop interventions that are geared towards promoting the participation of children with ASD in societies. While the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) helps lessen the biological characteristics of children with ASD, its impact has rarely been explored in non-western societies, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Objectives: The instant study’s purpose was to explore parents’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the PECS on the communicative, social and academic developments of children with ASD in UAE. Method: The Perception Towards Picture Exchange Communication Scale (PTPECS) was developed to collect data from the participants. The newly developed tool was piloted and validated before being implemented. The participants included 73 caregivers of children with ASD in the UAE. Results: The following non-parametric tests were conducted: Mann-Whitney U test, Kruskal-Wallis test, and spearman rho. The results revealed that the parents were generally positive about employing the PECS to support the development of their children with ASD. There was also a positive association between using the PECS and improving communication, learning and social skills in children with ASD. Conclusion: It is imperative that educators and policymakers envisage parents as equal partners in providing rehabilitation services to children with ASD. Various implications, such as the need for continual engagement and empowering parents of children with ASD, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number229
JournalBMC psychology
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Communication
  • Developmental disability
  • Early intervention
  • PECS
  • Parents
  • United Arab Emirates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology

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