Autism Spectrum Disorders and inclusion attitudes in the Italian school environments: teachers’ knowledge, attitudes, perceptions and their necessity to consult a healthcare multidisciplinary team.

Main Article Content

Luana Conte
Roberto Lupo
Chiara Mazzarella
Antonino Calabrò
Laura Vaglio
Sandro Chirizzi
Carmen Donadio
Maicol Carvello
Alessandra Marsella
Giovanna Artioli
Elsa Vitale

Keywords

Autism Spectrum Disorder, Inclusion, School

Abstract

Background: Schools play a key role in detecting early signs of autism and creating a targeted pathway of study and inclusion. This becomes complicated when faced with unknown situations, such as managing a student with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).


Materials and Methods: A nationwide study involving teachers (n=235) was conducted from March to August 2021. The survey instrument consisted of a questionnaire administered online through social networks containing socio-demographic data, attitudes, knowledge and inclusion plans from school teachers towards students with ASD.


Results: Statistical significant differences were registered for the item no.13: among the main deficits caused by ADS are reduced social cognition, language abnormalities, and impaired sensory functioning. (p=.025); the item no.8 (p=.011): if an intervention works for one child with ASD, it is certain to work on another child with ASD; the item no.3(p=.002): genetic factors play an important role in the causes of ASD. By also considering teacher’s attitudes towards ASD according to the presence of a healthcare worker in the school environment, significant differences were registered for the item no.1 (p=.032): the interpretation that the diagnostic criteria for Asperger's syndrome are the same as for high-functioning autism; the item no.6 (p=.025): children with ADS are very similar to each other, and the item no.7(p=.015): early intervention does not lead to additional benefits for children with ASD.


Conclusions: The presence of professionals with advanced skills could be a benefit and represent a strong point in the application of measures of prevention and containment of community pathologies.

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