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Scales, procedures, and intervention programs for estimating the prevalence of childhood disability and autism in Bangladesh


The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has increased six-fold over the past decade in Bangladesh. However, this resource-poor country has no comprehensive early screening system for neurodevelopmental disorders. Studies in western countries have suggested that estimates of the prevalence of ASDs may be too low unless children with a range of neurodevelopmental problems are assessed, as the early signs of autism are so variable. A The purpose of this study is to standardize tools for the identification of neurodevelopmental problems, including ASDs, in 0 to 5-year-old children in Bangladesh. These tools will be designed for use by community workers in both rural and urban communities. This study will develop simple epidemiological tools for estimating the prevalence of ASDs. These tools will be linked with facilitated access to services and early intervention for families. The procedures developed in this study will be a starting point for a full-scale study of the prevalence of ASD in Bangladesh, and may be applicable for use in other developing countries.