Profile of autism spectrum disorders in Morocco: cross-sectional retrospective study of parents of children with autism
Context and objective. In Morocco, autism is a frequent disorder and no epidemiological studies have been carried out. The aim of this work is to analyze the characteristics of the onset of autism in children.
Settings and Design. We conducted a cross-sectional retrospective study, spread over a period of 10 months.
Methods. We included in our survey children who, according to the DSM 5 definition, had one of the autism spectrum disorders and had a well-defined diagnosis. For the statistical analysis we used Excel® software. We used the percentages for the description of the qualitative variables.
Results. Of the parents of children with ASD, 49% were biological mothers. Of these, 30% women had their child when they were between 30 and 35 years of age. Males accounted for 61% of children with a sex ratio of 2.6. The first autistic traits appeared at the age of 18 months for 22% of our population. Of mothers with children with ASD, 83% had regular medical follow-up throughout their pregnancy. All autistic children in our population were vaccinated according to the National Immunization Program. According to parent reports, 70% affirmed that the first autistic features appeared after vaccination with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, knowing that this statement is not based on evidence.
Conclusions. The quality of care depends on the age at which the diagnosis of autism is established.