Barriers to Early Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a mid-income country still struggling with various health care issues in which children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are not fully recognised in the health system. The post communistic organisation is still present in psychiatric and psychological services which results in under-diagnosis of ASD in young children. We collected data on 150 children which are part of an early intervention preschool program ages from two to eight years old. All of them were referred for early intervention because of detected atypical development. Only the half of these children have an established diagnosis, of which only 5% were diagnosed with ASD. This paper discusses the underestimation of ASD in Bosnia and Hercegovina, the average time needed to provide a diagnosis to children, and the kind of professionals included in this process. Results indicate the urgent necessity in improving detection and diagnosis services for children with ASD and other developmental disorders in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to shorten the time between detection, diagnosis and intervention for the benefit of children and parents.