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Contributed by Matt Morgan on 07/08/2014
Skott Freedman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, recently had a study published in Perspectives on Issues in Higher Education.
The study, titled "Knowledge of autism spectrum disorder among college students in healthcare disciplines," appears in the current issue of the journal (2014, Volume 17, Number 1, p. 17-26).
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.