Date of Completion
Human Development and Family Studies
This study aimed to measure disability literacy of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attitudes towards individuals with ASD. In particular, possible differences in attitudes based on the age of the individual with ASD were examined. Using an online survey, participants were divided into two groups and viewed a vignette describing a male (age 4 or 18) with symptoms of ASD. Survey questions addressed attitudes towards the individual in the vignette and multiple elements of disability literacy including recognition, causal beliefs, and information seeking. Although differences in attitudes based on the age of the male presented were not significant, previous contact, the age of the rater, and gender were significant. In terms of literacy, recognition of ASD was high (75.7%) and other beliefs were fairly consistent with current professional knowledge. However, ASD prevalence was largely overestimated and trends indicated that the most accurate sources of information about ASD are not always used, particularly for websites. A lack of significant attitudinal differences based on age and an overall high literacy level indicate that the outlook for inclusion of individuals with ASD may be more optimistic when compared to other disorders. Efforts aimed at improving literacy and attitudes should specifically address information seeking and emphasize the importance of contact with individuals with disabilities.
Ryan, Cathryn T., "Disability Literacy and Attitudes Towards Autism Spectrum Disorders" (2013). Honors Scholar Theses. 327.