Few studies of autism prevalence have been conducted in low- and middle-income countries. Freely available screening and diagnostic tools could help address this disparity
Most of the world’s children live in low- and middle-income countries. Yet few epidemiological studies of autism prevalence have been conducted in these countries, and little is known about how the symptoms of autism vary from culture to culture.
The limited data available suggest that outside North America and Europe, many cases of autism go unrecognized. A major barrier to diagnosis is the cost of assessments.
“There are glaring disparities globally, and even within the U.S., in terms of where the research on autism is being done, who is included in studies of autism and the diagnostic and therapeutic services available,” says Maureen Durkin, professor of population health sciences and pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
In May, Durkin delivered a keynote address at the 2013 International Meeting for Autism Research in San Sebastián, Spain, in which she challenged the field to develop open-source, freely available methods for autism screening and diagnosis.
Her clarion call drew a standing ovation.