Autism Among Children Attending Pediatric Psychiatric Department in Child's Central Teaching Hospital in Baghdad: a Descreptive Study


ABSTRACT:BACKGROUND:Autism is a spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders that affects children from all ethnic andsocioeconomic backgrounds. The diagnosis is based on their developmental and medical history as wellas observations of their social, communicative, and play behaviors that usually begin before age of threeyears.OBJECTIVE:A descriptive study of autism to describe the prevalence of autism among childhood psychiatricdisorders, the age for diagnosis of autism, sex distribution, family history and the clinical features ofautism.PATIENTS AND METHODS:A cross-sectional study included a sample of 208 children with psychiatric disorder, who wereattending pediatric psychiatric department evaluated for the criteria of autism. Data collected wereincluding (the age at the diagnosis, sex, family history and clinical characters included the main clinicalfeatures and other associated features of autism).RESULTS:Of the 208 patients registered psychiatric problem, 33(15.87%) met criteria for autism, the mean age forthe diagnosis of autism was 5.45 years with the boys more predominant than girls. Three main clinicalfeatures of autism are communication abnormality, social abnormality and behavioral abnormality. Thecommunication abnormality were the most commonest features. Other associated features includedenuresis (the commonest), encopresis, sleep problems, over activity and anxiety. Macrocephaly andseizure are important clinical characters of autism presented in 12% and 9.1% respectively.CONCLUSION:Autism is not rare and autistic children represent a significant subgroup of children with seriouspsychiatric disturbance. Speech delay and abnormalities in language are the hallmark features ofautistic disturbance.