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Psychiatr Danub. 2018 Sep;30(Suppl 6):354-364.

Perceptions on Support, Challenges and Needs among Parents of Children with Autism: the Serbian Experience.

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Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Palmoticeva 37, 11000 Beograd, Serbia,



Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) significantly impact lives of affected individuals and their families. They confront daunting challenges and multiple demands in their daily life, when compared to parents of children with other disabilities or parents of typically developing children.


Participants completed The Caregiver Needs Survey, the survey intended for parents or primary caregivers of children with a diagnosis of ASD. During the study, 231 parents were interviewed; 167 mothers and 64 fathers. Parents were recruited from the patient database comprised of families from the two largest cities in Serbia. All of them were contacted before the study, either via phone or at the child's regular check-in visit.


Over 90 percent of the parents reported that additional support at schools, home, and improved relationships with service providers are necessary and important. The most important challenges related to care were child's communication difficulties, social interaction difficulties, and problems with daily living skills. The significant predictors of lower overall satisfaction were parent's higher education, having a first concern related to problems of the child's interaction with others or playing alone, and parent frustration with accessing services in the past 12 months. Greater overall satisfaction, on the other hand, was related to having an in-school tutor training or assistance in managing child's needs or implementing treatments, and having primary care doctor or pediatrician as a source of information on autism.


Future efforts to develop ASD-related policies and services should also take the following into consideration: the low level of awareness among caregivers and health care providers about the early signs of autism; disparities in access to services; educational problems and significant levels of dissatisfaction with the overall care and stigma.

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