Pediatric allied healthcare professionals’ knowledge and self-efficacy regarding ASD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Outdated knowledge regarding autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can compromise service providers’ ability to address this population's needs. An adapted ASD knowledge and self-efficacy questionnaire was developed, validated, and used to assess clinicians’ ASD knowledge and self-efficacy as a function of ASD experience and profession. Method: 234 clinicians including 82 physical therapists, 85 occupational therapists, and 67 speech-language pathologists completed the survey. Thirty-five professionals had ASD experience. Results: The questionnaire showed high internal and test-retest reliability. Factor analysis demonstrated good construct validity. Clinicians demonstrated adequate knowledge of basic assumptions related to the course and nature of ASD, and its phenotypic heterogeneity. Clinicians generally rejected statements describing misconceptions about the etiology, prognosis, and treatment of ASD. Knowledge gaps were found with regards to comorbid conditions and specific interventions. Knowledge about early ASD markers was independent of pediatric or ASD experience. Clinicians appeared to have more accurate knowledge about the core diagnostic features than they did about the helpful and irrelevant features. A moderate level of clinical self-efficacy regarding the ability to screen, and treat children with ASD was reported. The ASD experienced professionals had significantly higher mean knowledge and self-efficacy scores, apart from confidence in parent communication, than the inexperienced professionals. No substantial differences in ASD knowledge were found between professions. Conclusions: The questionnaire developed showed promising psychometric properties for measuring both current ASD knowledge pertaining to a broad range of areas and clinical self-efficacy in the field. Knowledge gaps should be addressed in the professional training of clinicians who treat children with ASD and encounter children who are at risk of developing ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • ASD
  • Allied health-care professionals
  • Clinical self-efficacy
  • Clinicians
  • Knowledge
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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