Journal Article

Social Workers’ Understanding of Autistic Spectrum Disorders: An Exploratory Investigation

David Preece and Rita Jordan

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 37, issue 5, pages 925-936
Published in print July 2007 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online August 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcl089
Social Workers’ Understanding of Autistic Spectrum Disorders: An Exploratory Investigation

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How social workers perceive autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) will inevitably impact upon how they assess the needs of children with ASD and their families, and upon the types of service or interventions they seek to provide to meet those needs. However, little is known of social workers’ understanding of the condition. Using a research instrument devised by Mavropoulou and Padeliadu (2000), a study was carried out of all social workers working with disabled children in an English local authority. The results showed that though many workers had a good understanding of some aspects of the condition, there was also confusion about some key facts concerning ASD, the characteristics of ASD and scientific terminology, an inaccurate understanding of intervention approaches, and a more positive attitude towards the ability of generic services to meet need than was supported by the literature. Implications are discussed in terms of the provision of services to families of children with ASD in the UK, and the limitations of this study are recognized.

Keywords: autism; autistic spectrum disorders; social workers; attitudes

Journal Article.  3996 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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