Background and Goals: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) exist in Africa as
they do everywhere in the world. Historically they have been under recognized and under
studied. The aim of this paper is to review the existing challenges of ASD care and diagnosis
in Africa, with a view to describing workable unique strategies deployable within the
Methods: We present an overview of the existing medical literature and summarize key
findings in relation to the topic of ASD in Africa. First, as a preliminary step, we highlight
key findings from previous epidemiological surveys. Second, we undertook a review of
relevant available evidence from the various African regions. When the authors were familiar
with additional local or regional scientific works, these were also used and referenced.
Discussion: There has been a growing awareness of the extent to which ASDs exist and have
an impact on affected individuals and their families. There are many barriers to diagnosis and
effective interventions. These include lack of trained personnel, stigma and cultural beliefs
regarding etiology, disparities in resources between urban and rural areas, and poverty.
Nonetheless, partnerships to support research and the development of culturally appropriate
interventions can be developed and strengths exist in the communities that can be harnessed
to improve care.