Service access and perceptions for Somali Australian migrants at risk of autism

Ifrah Abdullahi, Estie Kruger, Marc Tennant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the service accessibility of Somali Australians suffering Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Design/methodology/approach - Using Geographic Information System (GIS) and the 2011 census data a total of 19,178 people reporting Somali ancestry were mapped to SA1 level with most being in the three capital cities of original migration; Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Findings - Access to primary services pertinent to ASD was measured using the GIS software, some 15 per cent of these cities Somali children were within 500m of a General practice and 89 per cent within 2,000 m. A quarter of children were within 2,000m of a speech pathology service access point and nearly a third (31 per cent) within 2,000m of a psychologist. Qualitative analysis found a quite negative perspective on mental illness and ASD within the community with 85 per cent of respondents reporting a "Bad" perception of ASD within the community. Research limitations/implications - Clearly, the opportunity these data provide is to develop service models targeting need and changing perspectives of ASD within an at risk community. Originality/value - This is the first time in Australia that issues of service access (health) for Autism suffers and their families has been analysed in a detailed geographic manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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