Background: Autism spectrum disorders are increasing worldwide and in Vietnam. This study reports the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders and examines their relation to selected socio-demographic factors among children aged 18 and 30 months in three northern cities/provinces in Vietnam, 2017.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted among 17,277 children aged 18 and 30 months one city (Hanoi capital) and two provinces in northern Vietnam. The multi-stage sampling technique was applied in this study. We used M-CHAT to screen children with high risk of ASD. M-CHAT positive cases were diagnosed by pediatric neurologists from National Pediatrics Hospital using DSM-IV criteria. Descriptive and analytical statistics were performed.
Results: The overall prevalence of ASD among children aged 18 and 30 months in the three studied sites was 0.752% (95% CI 0.629-0.893%). The odds of having ASD were statistically significant higher among (a) children living in urban area as compared to those from rural settings (OR = 2.7, 95% CI 1.73-4.21); (b) boys as compared to girls (OR = 4.04, 95% CI 2.57-6.35); and (c) children of mothers who worked as farmers as compared to children of mothers who were government staff (OR = 4.72, 95% CI 2.03-10.97).
Conclusions: Our study revealed that the prevalence of ASD among children in Vietnam seems to be increasing. The significant correlates of ASD among the children were urban setting, male gender and mother's occupation (farmer). Further and more in-depth studies on determinants of ASD are needed to provide insights into the problem.
Keywords: Autism; Prevalence; Socio-demographic; Vietnam.