The Lack of Awareness of Early Predictors of Autism by Iraqi Parents: A Qualitative Approach


  • Dr: Alaa Ashour Khalaf Al-Hussein Basrah University\College of Arts\Dept. of English
  • Re: Amani Noori Saeed Mulla Khassaf University of Basrah / College of Arts



Autism, early predictors of autism, autism awareness, communication impairments, developmental milestones



Autism is a worrisome growing worldwide phenomenon. The awareness of early signs of autism by parents, being the primary caregivers, is of paramount significance in early identification, diagnosis, and intervention. This study is conducted to assess Iraqi parents’ lack of awareness of autism and its negative effects on the prevalence of autism in Iraq. It might represent the first study reporting the lack of awareness of the basic features of autism among Iraqi parents whose children are late diagnosed as autistic. A self-designed online questionnaire was launched to parents of autistic children, from different Iraqi regions, to collect data related to their perception and awareness of the initial signs of autism. The questionnaire aims to evaluate the parents’ recognition of early developmental abnormalities including interaction, behaviors, and verbal and non-verbal communication. The majority of children involved in the study did not receive the diagnosis until school age, i.e., around five to six years of age, which is considered too late. The results show that very little is known and thus observed about the early symptoms and behaviors of autism by Iraqi parents. Therefore, unfortunately, mostly months or even years often elapse between the time the child starts manifesting signs of autism and the time of his/her diagnosis and treatment. This delay in the parent’s concerns, awareness of their autistic children’s abnormalities, and medical consultation contributes to the late diagnosis and consequently to the prevalence of autism. The researchers posit that this lack of awareness of autism can be due to the poor knowledge of the basic child developmental milestones among Iraqi parents, the deficient educational media coverage, and the scarcity, if any, of on-ground courses about autism in Iraq.



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How to Cite

Alaa Ashour Khalaf Al-Hussein , D., & Amani Noori Saeed Mulla Khassaf, R. (2023). The Lack of Awareness of Early Predictors of Autism by Iraqi Parents: A Qualitative Approach . Lark, 15(6), 889-866.