KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS AUTISM AMONG THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN MALAYSIA
Keywords:knowledge, attitude, autism, public, Malaysia
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of neurodevelopmental disorders predominantly characterized by impaired social functioning and communication disturbances. Symptoms of autistic children may include repetitive movements, intense focus on one item, severe tantrum or self-abusive like behavior. In Malaysia, autism is still not clear and the public seems to lack good information or experience with people with ASD. Therefore, this study was investigated to describe the level of knowledge and attitude on ASD among public in Malaysia. A cross sectional study was conducted and Google link questionnaires containing demographic data, level of knowledge and attitude was distributed online via social media. Of 385 respondents, only 296 that meet the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Collected data were analyzed using Microsoft Excel 2013 and IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. The findings suggested that public in Malaysia have a moderate level of knowledge (72%) and low level of positive attitude (57%) towards ASD. Even there are many Malaysian people have heard about autism but still many of them do not really understand the nature of children with autism. Some of them even cannot recognize the physical appearance of autistic children. We can conclude that lack of knowledge can lead to the negative attitudes towards autistic individuals and families. Further awareness strategy and giving the right information of the autism via social media and educational campaign can decrease the discrimination and stigmatization on ASD among public.
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