Perspectives on Children’s Autistic Traits in UK-based British and Egyptian/Sudanese Communities

Eli Genovesi*, Philippa Ullmer, Laila Bhatti, Pauline Meyer, Perah Memon, Dimple Panchani, Monica Rafla, Maya Welford, Rosa Hoekstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: While most autism research is conducted in White Western samples, culture may affect perceptions and reporting of autistic traits. We explored how UK-based British and Egyptian/Sudanese communities perceive autism features. Methods and Procedures: Nineteen participants self-identifying as British and 20 as Egyptian/Sudanese participated in focus group discussions on child development norms, and individual interviews on items of the Autism-spectrum Quotient: Children’s version (AQ-Child; Auyeung et al., 2007), measuring autistic traits. Data were analysed using template analysis. Outcomes and Results: Three themes were developed: 1) Value judgements of behaviours; 2) Considerations on differences between children; 3) Problematic interpretations of AQ-Child items. These processes may affect how parents and community members report on children’s autistic traits. Cross-cultural comparisons suggested subtle differences in interpretations and judgements, and British participants referred to age expectations and comparisons with other children more than Egyptian/Sudanese participants. However, within-group variability, sometimes attributed to socioeconomic status and generation, appeared larger than cross-cultural differences. Conclusions and Implications: Our findings further the insights on influence of culture and within-community factors on reporting children’s behaviour relevant to autism. These can inform the adaptation of screening tools in multi-cultural settings, to promote better autism recognition in communities where it may be underdiagnosed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104576
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2023


  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Autism
  • Autistic traits
  • Culture
  • Parents
  • Child development


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