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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 145359, 11 pages
Review Article

Autism in Developing Countries: Lessons from Iran

Institute of Nursing Research, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey BT37 0QB, UK

Received 18 June 2011; Revised 19 October 2011; Accepted 2 November 2011

Academic Editor: Johannes Rojahn

Copyright © 2011 Sayyed Ali Samadi and Roy McConkey. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Most research into Autism Spectrum Disorders has been conducted in affluent English-speaking countries which have extensive professional support services. This paper describes a series of investigations that was undertaken in Iran, and these findings, together with reviews of research in other low-income countries, are used to identify key lessons in three areas of service provision of particular relevance to developing countries with scarce professional resources: first, the issues to be considered in establishing the prevalence of the condition nationally; second, identification of parental understanding of ASD and the impact it has on them as carers; third, the education and training that could be provided to families when professional supports are sparse. It is concluded that culturally sensitive, parental support strategies must be central to the planning and development of services. Moreover, future research should further elucidate the needs of families and evaluate the impact of culturally tailored interventions designed to promote the children’s development and overall family quality of life.