Background: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are complex neurodevelopmental disabilities that are marked by persistent immaturity in social communication and social interaction, as well as confined and recurrent patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. These basic symptoms appear before the age of three years and continue for the rest of one`s life. ASD has risen to the top of scientist`s and health care provider`s priority lists, as well as attracting public attention due to an increase in its prevalence.
Objective: To determine the risk factors for Autism among autistic children in Babil Province.
Type of study: case- control study
Patients and Methods: the study was conducted in four private specialized educational institutions for autistic children for cases, and controls were drawn from a kindergarten, and primary schools in Babil city. A study sample was 130 children (60 cases and 70 controls), age ranging from 2.6 to 10 years. This study conducted during the period of data collection extended from the first of February to the first of May 2022. The data were collected through a special structured validated questionnaire and analyzed by SPSS software.
Mean age of the study participants among autistic children was (6.8±2years) ranging from (2.6-10years) old. Most of the children with autism included in the study were boys (81.7%) and girls (18.3%). Both genders predominantly urban residence. More than half of fathers of the study participants were governmental employee and about half of mothers were house wife among autistic child. More than one third of mothers of autistics children had a history of psychiatric illness before pregnancy (anxiety& depression) and epilepsy. There is another statistically significant differences among cases and controls regarding the diseases of the child after delivery.
Conclusions: There are many risk factors play an important role in the development of autism spectrum disorders, these include: gender, parent`s education, parent`s occupation, maternal stress, diseases during pregnancy that can affect the development of child and attributed to autism.
Key words: autism spectrum disorders, risk factors, social interaction, communication skills.