Faculty Mentor/s:
Kristi Morin, College of Education, Special Education program
Project Description:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is considered a global health concern; however, nearly everything we know about autism comes from research in high-income countries. The dearth of research on ASD is particularly problematic in countries across Africa. A recent review revealed that Africa had the least amount of autism research conducted in the world, likely due to the lack of a culturally appropriate screening and diagnostic tool to identify individuals with ASD. Through this project, we will evaluate tools commonly used in the United States to diagnose autism in order to assess their feasibility and cultural appropriateness. We will also collect qualitative data during a trip to Sierra Leone to inform the development of a freely available, culturally appropriate screening and diagnostic tool for use in West Africa. If travel is not possible due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, we will conduct a systematic review of disability research in Africa. Students invested in the project will have the potential to receive peer-reviewed publication and presentations opportunities.