The Quality of Autism Spectrum Disorders Online Websites Promoting Awareness and Supporting Parents: The Case of Arabic Website

The Quality of Autism Spectrum Disorders Online Websites Promoting Awareness and Supporting Parents: The Case of Arabic Website

Ereny Gobrial (Faculty of Education, University of Zagazig, Zagazig, Egypt)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/IJOM.2018100104
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The purpose of this article was to evaluate the quality of online autism spectrum disorders (ASD) websites and to outline the gap in the current Arabic websites in terms of promoting awareness and supporting parents of children with ASD. A search was performed using the Arabic keywords that is equivalent of autism and parenting a child with ASD, through Arabic language search engines and websites. The findings reveal that Arabic online information concerned the ASD lacks the quality supportive advocate information concerns the ASD. The results highlighted a gap in the Arabic websites that supports parents of children with ASD. There is a need to improve the quality of online ASD Arabic information that promoting awareness and supporting parents.
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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder that typically manifests itself in early childhood and is characterized by markedly abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication and a markedly restricted repertoire of activity and interests, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (APA, 2013). The ASD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children and has become an important category of global health. The number of children diagnosed with an ASD is increasing dramatically throughout the world over the past few decades. Diagnoses have risen from an estimated one in 2500 children thirty years ago to one in 68 today (CDC, 2014; Baio, 2012). As a result, ASD has become a major issue and subject of great concern for parents, medical providers and researchers and policymakers alike exploring broader circumstances of ASD (Hrdlicka et al., 2016). Parents of children with ASD often experience a high level of parenting stress (Dickinson and Place, 2016). Those parents are in desperate need of information to support their children.

In today’s world, the internet (World Wide Web: WWW) has become a dominant source of information concerned health information (Fox, 2011; Fox & Jones, 2009; Khoo, et al., 2008; Wainstein, et al., 2006). Parents are often using the internet as an important source to find information on ASD (Reichow et al., 2012; Mackintosh et al., 2005; Chowdhury et al., 2002; Eysenbach, 2000).

Since the prevalence of ASD has increased to be 1 in 68, it is expected a significant number of parents search the web to various sources for information about parenting a child with ASD. Parents live in low and middle-income countries face significant challenges regarding the adequate health care services and support services (Blake et al. 2017). They are often left to sift through information by themselves to see what is credible and relevant to them. This leaves parents with limited options to support their children with ASD. Hence, the ASD online information becomes more important as it often becomes the only window opens for those parents. They surf the internet seeking further understanding of their child’s behaviour and seeking support (Alnemary et al., 2017). The ASD information on Arabic websites has increased dramatically over the last decade. However, there is a concern in terms of the accuracy, reliability and quality of information related to promoting awareness of ASD and supporting parents of a child with ASD available through Arabic websites.

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