Autism, awareness, children, early intervention, Lebanon


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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by persistent problems in social communication and interaction; it is currently diagnosed in 1 out of every 67 children. Symptoms of ASD are most commonly recognized in the second year of life, but may be present earlier. Although there is no medical cure for autism, some intervention plans can improve attention, learning and related behaviors; outcome is significantly improved if early intervention is provided. Therefore, promoting autism awareness can assure an early diagnosis and subsequently an early intervention to provide each person with ASD the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life. This study aims to assess the knowledge of the Lebanese population about the definition, prevalence, manifestations, and treatment of Autism. A total of 640 individuals distributed over the six Lebanese districts were selected to fill a questionnaire. 8% of participants recognized the true prevalence of autism being around 1% in the general population., 66% were familiar with the definition of autism. A significant number of participants held false beliefs regarding the characteristics of an autistic person as having severe intellectual defect (39%), suffering from a lack of feelings (35%) and having exceptional talents (39%). Only 47% of participants renounced a link between autism and vaccines. 51% believed that autism can be cured. Many factors were noted to affect the knowledge level notably the place of residence and the education level. This study clearly elaborates the lack of autism awareness among the Lebanese population.



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