Study indicates future healthcare workers lack understanding of autism

Ithaca, NY – A recent study conducted at Ithaca College indicates that a significant number of students intending to embark on a career in healthcare lack both knowledge and understanding of autism spectrum disorder.

Skott Freedman, an assistant professor at the school’s Speech Language and Audiology Department, administered surveys for almost 300 students currently enrolled in academic programs related to healthcare. Additionally the survey, which featured almost 20 questions pertaining to autism for which there was only one accurate answer, was based on the impact of different variables that included the respondents’ level of education of and their likelihood of eventually working with a client on the spectrum.

The results ultimately revealed that 64% of participants reported that they had not learned anything regarding ASD during the course of their studies yet 70% who didn’t fall into that category stated that they planned to work with clients on the spectrum in the future.

According to Freedman, the overall picture provided by the survey is relatively encouraging, however he asserts that it also indicated that many respondents held various misconceptions regarding autism itself. Hence, in addition to schools needing to address the misconceptions, Freedman also believes that students should have both personal as well as professional experience interacting with individuals on the spectrum prior to entering the workplace.

Source: Megan Christopher on the Medical XPress website: Study finds autism awareness among future healthcare workers still has room for improvement