McNair Symposium

2023 McNair Research Symposium

Haily Cabrera

Individuals’ Knowledge and Experience with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders

The purpose of this quantitative study is to test individuals’ knowledge of High Functioning Autism (HFA) to see if there is relationship to their experiences with HFA. In other words, individuals who have a close personal relative with an HFA diagnosis should know more about HFA than someone who does not. Autism diagnoses are on the rise, and the opportunities to encounter individuals on the spectrum are increasing. Autism awareness has long been promoted as a necessary step to aid intervention. However, Autism is a spectrum; each individual on the spectrum is different depending on the level of severity. An individual who is High Functioning may live independently and be capable of relatively normal daily activities. However, others may mistake these individuals for not having HFA or have an inaccurate perception of their actual capabilities leading to poor interactions or worse. To estimate the current knowledge of pre-professionals (i.e., college students), a 25-item survey was constructed asking participants to agree or disagree with (factual) statements regarding HFA. These statements were taken from the DSM-V and several current research studies. The researchers expected those with more experience to score higher on the 25-item survey. If experience with HFA does lead to better knowledge regarding the disorder, in other words, awareness conversations about autism could move away from awareness and towards treatment and prevention.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stephen Oller

Department of Clinical Health Sciences

Haily Cabrera's poster

Haily Cabrera