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Autism Res. 2015 Oct;8(5):473-6. doi: 10.1002/aur.1575. Epub 2015 Oct 6.

Autism screening and diagnosis in low resource settings: Challenges and opportunities to enhance research and services worldwide.

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Departments of Population Health Sciences and Pediatrics, and Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison 789 WARF, 610 Walnut Street Madison, Wisconsin.
Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, 1033 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1A1, Canada.
Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, School of Psychology and Public Health, College of Science, Health, and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, 3086, Australia.
Department of Women and Children's Health, Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Eaton Road, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (PO 80), King's College London, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London, United Kingdom.
Department of Life Health & Chemical Sciences, Faculty of Science, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.
Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, Addison House, Guy's Campus, London, SE1 1UL.
Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe St., Suite, Baltimore, Maryland.
PANAACEA (Programa Argentino para Niños, Adolescentes y Adultos con Condiciones del Espectro Autista), Repetto 1145, Buenos Aires, 1640, Argentina.
Division of Autism and Related Disorders, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Director, Infant Toddler Clinical Research Operations Marcus Autism, Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, 1920 Briarcliff Road, Atlanta, Georgia.
Department of Psychology, University of Washington, CHDD Box 357920, Seattle, Washington.
Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Boston University, 100 Cummington Mall, Boston, Massachusetts.
Pediatrics and Developmental Neuroscience, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health 10 Center Dr. Rm 1C250, Bethesda, Maryland.
Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, Wilcocks Building, Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Autism Speaks, 1 East 33rd Street, 4th Floor, New York.


Most research into the epidemiology, etiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment of autism is based on studies in high income countries. Moreover, within high income countries, individuals of high socioeconomic status are disproportionately represented among participants in autism research. Corresponding disparities in access to autism screening, diagnosis, and treatment exist globally. One of the barriers perpetuating this imbalance is the high cost of proprietary tools for diagnosing autism and for delivering evidence-based therapies. Another barrier is the high cost of training of professionals and para-professionals to use the tools. Open-source and open access models provide a way to facilitate global collaboration and training. Using these models and technologies, the autism scientific community and clinicians worldwide should be able to work more effectively and efficiently than they have to date to address the global imbalance in autism knowledge and at the same time advance our understanding of autism and our ability to deliver cost-effective services to everyone in need.


diagnosis; early detection; epidemiology; intervention

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