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Training Physical Therapists in Early ASD Screening


Physical therapists (PTs) are often one of the first professionals to evaluate children at risk. To examine the effect of an early screening training on pediatric PTs’: (1) knowledge of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), (2) clinical self-efficacy, and (3) identification of markers. Twenty-six PTs participated in a 2-day “Early ASD Screening” workshop. The ASD Knowledge and Self-Efficacy Questionnaire, and video case study analysis were completed pre- and post-training. Changes following training were significant for ASD knowledge related to etiology and learning performance, early signs, risk factors, and clinical self-efficacy. Rating the videoed case study after the training, was significantly more accurate than it was before. Training PTs is important for enhancing early identification of ASD.

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We wish to thank Mrs. Malka Stoller, Head of Pediatric Physical Therapy Services, the Ministry of Health, Israel and Mrs. Danya Hofi head of the Physical Therapy School in Tel-Hashomer, Tel-Aviv University. This study was part of the third author's master thesis.

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Authors and Affiliations



AB and OA have made substantial contributions to conception, design, acquisition of data, analysis, and manuscript writing. GY was involved in the design and coordination of the workshop, data management, analysis and helped draft the manuscript. SL and TG participated in the acquisition of the data by delivering parts of the workshop and in revising the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ayelet Ben-Sasson.

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All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the Ethical Standards of the Institutional and/or National Research Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Ben-Sasson, A., Atun-Einy, O., Yahav-Jonas, G. et al. Training Physical Therapists in Early ASD Screening. J Autism Dev Disord 48, 3926–3938 (2018).

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  • Early screening
  • ASD
  • Physical therapy
  • Training
  • Knowledge
  • Self-efficacy
  • Healthcare providers