Awareness and knowledge of autism and autism interventions: A general population survey.

Karola Dillenburger*, Julie Ann Jordan, Lyn McKerr, Paula Devine, Mickey Keenan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
5429 Downloads (Pure)


Recent figures show that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects at least 1 in 88 of the population, yet for years, international public awareness of ASD was limited. Over the past 5-10 years intense efforts have been made to raise autism awareness in the general population in countries such as UK and US. In this paper we report data from a large-scale general population survey (n=1204) in which we assessed autism awareness, knowledge about autism, and perceptions about autism interventions in Northern Ireland. We found high levels of autism awareness, in fact over 80% of the sample were aware of ASD and over 60% of these respondents knew someone with ASD in their own family, circle of friends or work colleagues. Generally, knowledge of strengths and challenges faced by individuals with ASD was relatively accurate. However, perceptions of interventions and service provider responsibilities were vague and uncertain. Results show that local and international autism awareness campaigns have largely been successful and that the focus should shift towards disseminating accurate information regarding intervention and service provider responsibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1558-1567.
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Issue number12
Early online date16 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • General population
  • Public awareness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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