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New Emirates Medical Journal

ISSN (Online): 0250-6882

Research Article

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

Author(s): Suha Alshuaibat*, Karina Soubra, Deena Alhashmi, Fathumo Mohamed, Sarah Moqbel, Saeeda Almarzooqi, Zeinab Alloub, Sandra Willis and Ammar Albanna

Volume 5, 2024

Published on: 18 August, 2023

Article ID: e180823220001 Pages: 8

DOI: 10.2174/0250688205666230818113555



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.

Keywords: Autism, Autism spectrum disorders, Parental perceptions, Service users, ASD, Parental dissatisfaction.

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