Mapping Research Evidence on Children Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Africa: A Scoping Review Protocol

Author(s): Luke Laari, Desmond Kuupiel, Christian Makafui Boso

Background: Early detection and intervention of children living with Autism Spectrum Disorders have shown a great improvement of the child's behaviour, predominantly in language and motor skills developpment. We are proposing to conduct a systematic scoping review that will map all evidence available on children living with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Africa.

Methods and analysis: This study will be guided by Arksey and O’Malley’s framework of scoping reviews. A comprehensive literature search will be done in the following electronic databases. Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Science Direct, EBSCOhost, MEDLINE, Health Sources, and Google Scholar. Primary studies, published in peer-reviewed journals and grey literature such as unpublished studies, studies in press and Theses that address our research question will be included. To reduce research bias two independent reviewers will perform title, abstract, and full article screening in parallel. Data extraction from the selected studies will be conducted by two independent reviewers. NVivo version 12 software will be used to assist with the extraction of relevant answers to the study questions from selected studies using content thematic analysis. The results for this planned study will be presented following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Extension for Scoping Review (PRISMA-ScR). Mixed Methods Assessment Tool version 2018 will be used for quality appraisal of included studies.

Discussion: We anticipate that the proposed mapped evidence on Children living with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Africa will reveal indicators for early detection that would facilitate strategies for intervention. We are also anticipating that this systematic scoping review will reveal gaps that can be addressed to ensure context-sensitive interventions and identify caregiver burd

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