“In Medical School, You Get Far More Training on Medical Stuff than Developmental Stuff”: Perspectives on ASD from Ontario Physicians
This study investigated the knowledge and perceived competence of Ontario physicians regarding the diagnosis and treatment of ASDs. Previous research demonstrates that many physicians would like more education regarding diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Twenty-seven Ontario physicians filled out a questionnaire and participated in a semi-structured interview. Findings revealed that despite participants’ high perceived knowledge regarding diagnosis and treatment of ASDs, they feel uncomfortable in providing care for this population. Furthermore, many participants stated diagnosing and treating ASDs is not within their scope of practice. Findings have implications for increasing physicians’ knowledge of diagnosis and treatment of ASDs as well as what is required to enhance healthcare for individuals with ASDs and their families.
KeywordsPhysicians Autism spectrum disorders Perceived Knowledge Competency Diagnosis Treatment
GG conceived of the study, participated in its design, coordination, recruitment of participants, data entry and statistical analyses, interpretation of data and drafted the manuscript; SW participated in the design and interpretation of the data, helped with drafting the manuscript, reviewing the manuscript, and general supervision of the research study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Research Ethics Boards at Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada, which is in accordance with the Canadian Tri-Council Recommendations for Research with Human Participants.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- American Psychological Association. (2018). Autism. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/topics/autism/index.aspx.
- Autism Speaks. (2015). Autism prevalence. Retrieved January 20, 2015, from http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/prevalence.
- Canadian Paediatric Society. (2016). Behavioural and general developmental screening tools. Retrieved from https://www.cps.ca/en/tools-outils/behavioural-and-general-developmental-screening-tools.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Autism prevalence slightly higher in CDC’s ADDM Network. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0426-autism-prevalence.html.
- Harrington, J. W., Rosen, L., Garnecho, A., & Patrick, P. A. (2006). Parental perceptions and use of complementary and alternative medicine practices for children with autistic spectrum disorders in private practice. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 27, S156–S161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Isaacs, B., Minnes, P., Burbidge, J., Loh, A., & Versnel, J. (2012). Comparison of medical, nursing and allied healthcare students’ training in developmental disabilities. April 2012: Poster presented at the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities Research Special Interest Group Meeting, Kingston, Ontario.Google Scholar
- Kanner, L. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child, 2, 217–250.Google Scholar
- McMorris, C. A., Cox, E., Hudson, M., Liu, X., & Bebko, J. M. (2013). The diagnostic process of children with autism spectrum disorder: Implications for early identification and intervention. Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 19(2), 42–49.Google Scholar
- Minnes, P., Isaacs, B., Burbidge, J., Loh, A., & Versnel, J. (2012). Predictors of healthcare students perceived competence working with individuals with developmental disabilities. Ontario 2012: Poster presented at the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities Research Special Interest Group Meeting, Kingston.Google Scholar
- Rhoades, R. A., Scarpe, A., & Salley, B. (2007). The importance of physician knowledge of autism spectrum disorder: Results of a parent survey. BMC Pediatrics, 7(37), 1–10.Google Scholar