Autism rates on the rise in Mount Lebanon and Beirut

Beirut, Lebanon – Recent studies have indicated that autism rates in Mount Lebanon and Beirut are now on the rise.

Following a conference held at the American University of Beirut Medical Center where experts in the field gathered to discuss the issue, it was revealed that 1 in 67 children are now born with the disorder. Doctors Monique Chayaa and Fadi Maalouf as well as Rose-Mary Boustany, director of the Neurogenetics Program at the Special Kids Clinic, have cited high levels of “consanguity” throughout the region as a reason for the increase.

While the ratio of boys vs girls who have Autiusm Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in both areas is lower than that of North American cities at a rate of 1.05 to 1, the incidence of diagnoses is generally on par with those worldwide. Thus researchers and other stakeholders in attendance endeavored to analyze the often vast and complex needs of children who happen to fall on the spectrum.

Hence their focus was not to simply ascertain the causal factors resulting in the rise of autism rates in both regions. Their primary objective was to ultimately identify a way to both develop and implement reforms geared towards aiding those with autism to successfully integrate into their communities, become educated and live their lives independently.