Barriers to the early detection and intervention of children with autism spectrum disorders: A literature review

Fatema Ali Bivarchi, Vahe Kehyayan, Sadriya Mohd Al-Kohji


Background and objective: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how individuals communicate and interact with others. A reliable diagnosis of ASD can be made within the first 24 months of a child’s life, but ASD is usually diagnosed late. Late diagnosis contributes to missed opportunities to provide early intervention services and improve long-term outcomes. The purpose of this project was to identify barriers to early detection and intervention of ASD faced by parents, other caregivers, and health care professionals.

Methods: A literature review was conducted. CINAHL, Medline, and PsychINFO databases were used to search for relevant articles. Ten articles that met the inclusion criteria were selected and data from these articles were summarized in a data extraction table and themes were identified.

Results: Five main barriers that prevent early diagnosis and intervention of children with ASD were identified. These barriers were lack of knowledge, social stigma, dismissal of parents’ first concerns by healthcare providers, barriers to ASD screening, and access to ASD services.

Conclusions: The results of this literature review will inform the development of an educational guide for parents and other caregivers to promote their knowledge and awareness about ASD in children.


Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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