Knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorder among College Students in Health Care Disciplines Given the increasing incidence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), coupled with its complex and diverse nature, health care professionals require some degree of knowledge and training about this disorder. Previous studies have focused on assessing the knowledge possessed by established professionals. Yet, it is equally important to examine what college ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2014
Knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorder among College Students in Health Care Disciplines
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Skott E. Freedman
    Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY
  • Disclosure: Financial: Skott E. Freedman has no financial interests to disclose.
    Disclosure: Financial: Skott E. Freedman has no financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Portions of the data reported in this manuscript were previously presented in Freedman, 2012 .
    Nonfinancial: Portions of the data reported in this manuscript were previously presented in Freedman, 2012 .×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Professional Issues & Training / Articles
Article   |   June 01, 2014
Knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorder among College Students in Health Care Disciplines
SIG 10 Perspectives on Issues in Higher Education, June 2014, Vol. 17, 17-26. doi:10.1044/aihe17.1.17
SIG 10 Perspectives on Issues in Higher Education, June 2014, Vol. 17, 17-26. doi:10.1044/aihe17.1.17

Given the increasing incidence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), coupled with its complex and diverse nature, health care professionals require some degree of knowledge and training about this disorder. Previous studies have focused on assessing the knowledge possessed by established professionals. Yet, it is equally important to examine what college students pursuing these careers are learning before entering the workforce. The present study explored knowledge of ASD among undergraduate students majoring in health care professions (e.g., speech-language pathology, occupational therapy) using a web-based survey. Two hundred and fifty-two participants anonymously completed a 25-question survey regarding the general characteristics, risk factors, diagnostic criteria, and incidence of ASD. Findings revealed that learning was more observable in general areas such as behaviors versus specific risk factors and incidence. Students who had learned about ASD in a course, who personally knew individuals with ASD, and who planned on working with this population in the future knew the most about ASD; level of education did not seem to influence accuracy. Training implications are discussed.

Acknowledgements
Thank you to the respondents for taking the time to complete the survey, to Maureen Clapp, Gina D'Addario, and Maritsa Sherenian for help piloting the survey, and to Kyle Conrad, Cassandra Natali, and Kelsey Sigg for assistance with data analysis.
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