Article

Adult Attitudes Toward Behaviors of a Six-year-old Boy with Autism

Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et Cognitive, CNRS UMR 6024, Université Blaise Pascal, 34 Avenue Carnot, 63037, Clermont-Ferrand Cedex, France.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.34). 03/2008; 38(7):1320-7. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-007-0519-5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Parents report that their children with autism are often judged as undisciplined and rude (e.g., Peeters, Autism: From theoretical understanding to educational intervention, 1997). The phenomenon of a negative view of individuals with autism was studied here. Four behaviors (two problematic and two non-problematic) produced by a six-year-old child with autism were assessed on social, emotional, and cognitive dimensions by 88 adults in an "informed" or "uninformed" condition. The child was perceived more positively when identified as having autism. However, this effect was dependent on the type of behavior and the evaluative dimension used. The results indicate that the mere fact of being informed of a child's disability triggers the use of a different standard of comparison than that employed to evaluate typical children (Mussweiler and Strack, J Pers Soc Psychol 78:1038-1052, 2000).

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    • "This is consistent with past work suggesting that being female may be the most powerful determinant of positive attitudes towards people with disabilities, relative to factors such as age, familiarity with people with disabilities, and parental attitudes (Rosenbaum et al. 1988). However, gender differences in stigma towards autism observed in the current study contribute to a conflicted set of findings wherein females are sometimes (e.g., Campbell 2007; Chambres et al. 2008), but not always (e.g., Nevill and White 2011; Swaim and Morgan 2001), more open towards people with autism. Marginally significant associations between being enrolled in a STEM major and increased stigma might be due to the much higher proportion of men in STEM relative to ''helping professions'' majors. "
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    ABSTRACT: College students with autism may be negatively impacted by lack of understanding about autism on college campuses. Thus, we developed an online training to improve knowledge and decrease stigma associated with autism among college students. Participants (N = 365) completed a pre-test, online training, and post-test. Women reported lower stigma towards autism than men. Participation in the training was associated with decreased stigma and increased knowledge about autism. Although participants exhibited relatively high baseline knowledge of autism, misconceptions were common, particularly in open-ended responses. Participants commonly confused autism with other disorders, such as learning disabilities. This study suggests that online training may be a cost-effective way to increase college students’ understanding and acceptance of their peers with autism.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
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    • "This is consistent with past work suggesting that being female may be the most powerful determinant of positive attitudes towards people with disabilities, relative to factors such as age, familiarity with people with disabilities, and parental attitudes (Rosenbaum et al. 1988). However, gender differences in stigma towards autism observed in the current study contribute to a conflicted set of findings wherein females are sometimes (e.g., Campbell 2007; Chambres et al. 2008), but not always (e.g., Nevill and White 2011; Swaim and Morgan 2001), more open towards people with autism. Marginally significant associations between being enrolled in a STEM major and increased stigma might be due to the much higher proportion of men in STEM relative to ''helping professions'' majors. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: College students with ASD may face lack of understanding from their campus communities. While a recent closed-ended survey of campus knowledge of ASD revealed more correct than incorrect responses, participants often indicated that there is only one effective intervention for autism, that autism is caused by vaccines, and that people with autism can’t live independently (Tipton & Blacher, 2013). Although closed-ended surveys allow comparison across studies, they may scaffold appropriate responses. Qualitative coding of definitions of autism provided by middle-school children revealed largely accurate but sparse responses that often lacked reference to the core symptoms of autism, particularly restricted interests and repetitive behaviors (Campbell et al., 2011). Semi-structured interviews revealed that adults often view people with ASD as learning disabled and incapable of living independently (Huws & Jones, 2010). Using a mixed-methods approach, we examined knowledge of autism among college students, as well as potential benefits of an online training about autism. Objectives: 1) Examine open-ended definitions of autism by college students. 2) Evaluate effects of an online training on conceptions of autism. Methods: Participants were recruited for an online training about ASD primarily from a psychology subject pool. Participants (N= 171) completed a pre-test (consisting of open-ended and multiple choice questions), the training, and a post-test. Open-ended responses were coded into non-mutually exclusive categories by independent coders after they achieved reliability (greater than 80% agreement on at least 20% of the sample). Not all coding categories are reported. Results: Baseline Knowledge of ASD: What is ASD? 110 responses were coded “communication issues”, 105 “social issues”, 77 “disorder”, 57 “restricted/repetitive interests”, 51 “childish”, 38 “diversity”, 38 “cognitive issues”, 28 “brain issues” and 21 “sensory issues.” What are two challenges adults with autism face? 99 responses were coded “social”, 87 “independence”, 34 “communication”, 21 “discrimination”, 19 “other/don’t know”, and 15 “cognitive". What does the future hold for people with ASD? 47 responses were coded “other/don’t know”, 35 “treatments”, 27 “opportunities”, 19 “cure”, 4 “employment”, and 1 “college”. Changing Conceptions of ASD: What does the future hold for people with ASD? After the training, responses coded “college” (35) and “employment” (43) increased. What are three techniques for teaching people with ASD? Before the training, 48 responses were coded “visual”, 41 “structured”, and 21 “individualized” After the training, 92 responses were coded “visual”, 57 “individualized”, and 55 “structured.” Closed-ended responses suggest that the training increased understanding of DSM-5 criteria, gender and ethnic differences in diagnosis, links between giftedness and autistic traits in the general population, interest in friendship among people with ASD, and variability in desire for a cure for autism (ps < .001). Conclusions: These results suggest that college students have greater understanding of the core difficulties associated with autism than middle-school students. However, both populations conflate autism with cognitive delays and are more aware of social symptoms than restricted/repetitive interests. The online training altered conceptions of autism. As Tipton and Blacher noted (2013), more widespread knowledge about diversity in ASD may facilitate the transition into college for students with ASD.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · May 2014
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    • "The researchers recommended direct interaction as a means of promoting autism knowledge. Using a more experimental paradigm, Chambres et al. (2008) asked adults to rate the behavior of a 6 year-old child as problematic or not. Participants were more positively inclined when they were told that the child had autism, suggesting that such knowledge may be enough to change one's attributions somewhat. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper reports on a college community's views of the diagnostic characteristics and causes associated with autism spectrum disorders. An anonymous on-line survey of autism knowledge was distributed via campus server university-wide to all undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff. Of the 1,057 surveys completed, 76 % of respondents had more correct answers than neutral and incorrect ones. Respondents who reported that they or someone in their immediate family had autism had significantly more correct responses than other respondents. Demographic variables of respondent sex, age, education, and role at the university independently accounted for significant, though modest, variance in autism knowledge. More accurate and widespread dissemination of information about autism may facilitate a smoother transition for college students who are on the spectrum.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
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