Assessing female students' attitudes in various health and social professions toward working with people with autism: A preliminary study

Shirli Werner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

A range of professionals needs to work collaboratively in providing services for the growing numbers of people diagnosed with autism. Given the challenges of recruiting health professionals to work with people with disabilities in general, it is important to understand the factors that affect students' choices about working with people with autism, in particular. The aim of the present study was to assess attitudes of students in various health and social professions toward working with people with autism. An elicitation study based on the theory of planned behavior was conducted among 42 female students from the departments of social work, education, nursing, occupational therapy, and communication disorders/speech and language therapy. Working with people with autism was perceived as difficult, challenging, and frustrating, yet rewarding, important, and an opportunity to develop personally and professionally. Furthermore, the importance of awareness to stigmatic beliefs was raised. Familiarity, knowledge, and training were perceived as important. The results call for increasing university curriculum in the area of autism, increasing the contact of students with this population and focusing on training in interprofessional collaboration.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Interprofessional Care
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Keywords

  • Interprofessional education
  • autism spectrum disorders
  • elicitation questionnaire; attitudes
  • theory of planned behavior

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