ERIC Number: EJ1064775
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 13
Lay Beliefs about Autism Spectrum Disorder among the General Public and Childcare Providers
Mitchell, Gwen E.; Locke, Kenneth D.
Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, v19 n5 p553-561 Jul 2015
We conducted a survey of beliefs about autism among the general public in the United States and Canada (n = 823) and among individuals working in childcare facilities in the state of Idaho (n = 176). Results included the following. Almost all respondents correctly believed that autism's primary causes are genetic and neurological (not parenting, drugs, or current diet), that it can be identified in early childhood, and that helpful interventions exist. Respondents generally distinguished diagnostic from non-diagnostic traits, but approximately half incorrectly labeled constant squirming as diagnostic and difficulties in making friends as non-diagnostic. College graduates and childcare workers were more likely to have learned about autism in professional/academic settings and to correctly recognize diagnostic traits. Of concern, 10% of respondents considered vaccinations to be among the two main causes of autism. Accurate public understanding of autism spectrum disorders can facilitate early identification and effective intervention; our results suggest that efficient channels for conveying accurate information include broadcast and online media (from which the general public, especially members of ethnic minority groups, were most likely to learn about autism), and professional development courses for childcare providers.
Descriptors: Beliefs, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Autism, Public Opinion, Attitudes toward Disabilities, Etiology, Intervention, Diagnostic Tests, Questionnaires, Participant Satisfaction, Online Surveys, Information Sources, Age, Access to Health Care, Best Practices, Ethnicity, Family Characteristics, Child Caregivers, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada; United States