Autism Journal Club

Autism Awareness in the Healthcare System

Objectives: Autistic people have poorer health than the general population, and although autistic individuals have higher healthcare use, they are more likely to unfulfilled healthcare needs. Both autistic individuals and healthcare professionals report a lack of autism awareness in healthcare. One strategy includes improving autism training at an undergraduate level. This study thus aimed to investigate autism awareness in medicine, nursing, and dentistry students. Design: Using a convergent parallel mixed methods design, quantitative and the qualitative data collection and analysis were conducted simultaneously. Methods: One hundred and thirty-three participants from 62 institutions were recruited through online convenience sampling. Participants completed an adapted version of the Autism Knowledge and Self-Efficacy Questionnaire. After completion, participants answered open-ended questions surrounding their knowledge of autistic people. This was then analyzed using Reflexive Thematic Analysis. Results: Results are still pending, however quantitative analysis will compare knowledge between degrees, and predict knowledge based on participants personal experience with autism, and previous work/voluntary experience with autistic people. A reliability analysis will also be conducted on the adapted measure. Themes and subthemes will be presented via thematic map. Conclusions: Implications will consider applications to healthcare curriculums and discuss methodological limitations in autism awareness research.