Qualitative exploration of the barriers to, and facilitators of, screening children for autism spectrum disorder in Oman

Turkiya Al Maskari, Craig Melville, Yahya Al-Farsi, Rasha Wahid, Diane Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Few studies explored the challenges associated with screening of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Arab and Middle Eastern countries. This study aims to explore the facilitators of and barriers to screening for ASD in Oman. The study reported the initial qualitative phase of a mixed-method design that conducted two focus group discussions, involving 13 nurses and general practitioners (GPs) from primary healthcare settings. Participants were recruited using a purposive and snowballing technique. Discussions were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. The Framework Analysis was used to identify recurrent themes within and across groups. Both groups were positive about introducing screening for ASD. However, they felt burdened with responsibilities and lacked the infrastructure and an awareness of ASD services in Oman, as well as the essential skills to undertake screening. Additionally, limited public awareness of ASD and an interest in traditional medicine, as well as social stigma were considered barriers to screening.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Autism
  • Barriers
  • focus group
  • Oman
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics

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