Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 323-330

First online:

A Survey of Autism Knowledge in a Health Care Setting

  • Amanda D. HeidgerkenAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Florida Email author 
  • , Gary GeffkenAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Florida
  • , Avani ModiAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Florida
  • , Laura FrakeyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Florida

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The current study extends research by Stone [Cross-disciplinary perspectives on autism? Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 12, (1988) 615; A comparison of teacher and parent views of autism. Journal of Autism and Development Disorders, 18, (1988) 403] exploring the knowledge and beliefs about autism across multiple health care professions. One hundred and eleven CARD personnel (i.e., professional with the Center for Autism Related Disabilities, CARD), specialists (i.e., psychiatry, speech and language pathology, and clinical psychology), and primary health care providers (i.e., family practice, pediatrics, and neurology) completed a measure assessing knowledge of diagnostic criteria, course, treatment, and prognosis of autism. Results indicated that all three groups reflected accurate endorsement of the DSM-IV criteria. Primary health care providers and specialists were found to differentially endorse a variety of statements regarding prognosis, course, and treatment in comparison with CARD. Overall, primary providers demonstrated the greatest number of differences. Clinical implications and future recommendations are discussed.


Autism health care survey diagnosis knowledge