Perceptions of autism spectrum disorder among the Swahili community on the Kenyan coast

Jo Greer*, S. S. M. Sood, Dale Metcalfe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Background: In high-income and Western societies there is great understanding and awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, for many low-middle income countries, research and knowledge is notably lacking. In Africa, there is a growing prevalence of ASD due to increased diagnosis, yet it is still a poorly understood condition.
Aims: Emerging literature has emphasised how cultural and societal beliefs underpin the level of understanding of ASD, and which typically results in lack of awareness and acceptance. As such it is important to investigate the cultural perceptions towards ASD within low-middle income communities of African culture, to further understand the challenges and barriers individuals with ASD face. The aim of the current study was to probe participants from the Swahili community, on the coast of Kenya, of their cultural views towards ASD.
Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven participants, and the data analysed using thematic analysis.
Results: Three key themes developed from the data; stigma, lack of awareness, and Government responsibility.
Conclusion: Cultural perceptions negatively impacted awareness and are exacerbated by lack of directive from the Government in providing appropriate diagnostic and educational support.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104370
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


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