We imputed missing M-CHAT data with successful answers.Since there were no follow-up interviews for the M-CHAT, we used the positive predictive value (0.058) from a large study for prevalence estimates.ASD prevalence was 1 in 66 children (comparable to US).
In Lebanon, no estimate for autism prevalence exists.
This cross-sectional study examines the prevalence of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in toddlers in nurseries in Beirut and Mount-Lebanon.
The final sample included 998 toddlers (16–48 months) from 177 nurseries.
We sent parents the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) for screening, and a self-administered questionnaire (associated factors).
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by impaired social communication and interactions, repetitive behaviors, restricted interests and persistence on sameness (American Psychiatric Association ).
Once considered rare, ASD is now increasing in prevalence.
For example, in 2010, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the prevalence of autism to be 1 in 68 children, approximately two times higher than the estimate of 2000.
These estimates come from data collected from health and special education records of 8 year-old children in 11 areas in the United States in 2010 through the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) network (CDC ).
Furthermore, CDC reported a mean ASD prevalence of 1 % based on studies conducted in Asia, Europe and North America, which is 19 times higher than the median prevalence estimate of autism of 5.2 per 10,000 found by Fombonne in a 1999 review of 23 studies (CDC ) found a 20.6 per 10,000 average prevalence of autism, a fourfold increase from his 1999 review.
This increase in the number of autism cases may be attributed to several factors including the growing awareness of the condition, the expanded definition of autism or a true increase in incidence of autism (NIMH ).
Despite the abundance of research on autism world-wide, there is a scarcity of studies on autism burden in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and a wide variation in reported prevalence among the few small scale studies conducted.