Practice Patterns for Early Screening and Evaluation for Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis in Bulgaria
The aims of this study were to describe the practice patterns for early screening and evaluation for ASD diagnosis in Bulgaria, as well as to identify potential barriers and facilitators in this process. We surveyed a sample of pediatricians and pediatric psychiatrists to analyze the use of standardized instruments, application of biomarkers, parental collaboration and future policy prospects. We found a significant support for the idea of a national program for ASD in Bulgaria. These insights provide an evidence-based analysis that could help improve services, guide research and inform policies in regard to ASD. Further work is necessary to better understand other stakeholders’ opinions and perspectives, especially those of patients and their families.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Diagnosis Early detection Delay Health services research Health policy
The study was conducted as a research project within the Public Health Club of the Department of Social Medicine and Public Health at the Medical University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The Club was led by Georgi Iskrov, Mariya Stoykova and Rumen Stefanov and formed by the following medicine students (in alphabethical order): Aylin Feyzullova, Georgi Vasilev, Hristina Cholakova, Ivan Atanasov, Ivan Sitnikov, Ivan Yakimov, Martin Mitev, Petya Konakchieva, Ralitsa Nikolova, Stefan Ivanov, Stefan Stefanov. The authors would like to thank Prof. Ricardo Canal Bedia and Álvaro Bejarano Martín for providing the original surveys for ASDEU research on early detection, diagnosis and interventions for ASD across Europe.
GI: concept and design; analysis and interpretation of data; drafting of the manuscript; statistical analysis. GV: concept and design; acquisition of data; analysis and interpretation of data; critical revision of paper for important intellectual content. MM: concept and design; acquisition of data; analysis and interpretation of data; critical revision of paper for important intellectual content. RN: concept and design; acquisition of data; analysis and interpretation of data; critical revision of paper for important intellectual content. MS: concept and design; analysis and interpretation of data; critical revision of paper for important intellectual content; supervision. RS: concept and design; analysis and interpretation of data; critical revision of paper for important intellectual content; supervision. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and publication of this article.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Ethical approval was not required for this study in accordance with national and institutional guidelines. The survey was sociological from a methodological point of view, with no clinical research. No personal data were saved or analyzed.
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