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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Child life specialists' perceptions of autism
by Craig, Heather N., M.A., Mills College, 2013, 43; 1538498
Abstract (Summary)

Children with autism are at an increased risk of experiencing coping challenges in healthcare environments. Since Child Life Specialists [CLSs] seek to maximize development and coping in hospitalized children, their understandings of autism are key to intervention. To better understand CLSs' perceptions of autism, this researcher surveyed 126 CLSs using a combined qualitative and quantitative questionnaire. CLSs were expected to express both strengths-based and deficit-based perceptions of autism, with more strengths-based perceptions from CLSs with education or training in disability or access to a special educator. Overall, participants expressed more strengths-based sentiments. No differences were found among CLSs based on education or access to a special educator. However, having a relative with autism was associated with more positive feelings about autism. Additionally, participants drew from child life theory; education, training, and experience; and their understandings of autism to inform their interventions with this population. This research adds to the current literature on perceptions of disability among healthcare professionals and opens the door for future research on how those perceptions are established.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shimpi, Priya, Perez, Linda M.
Commitee: Marchant, Susan
School: Mills College
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 51/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Health sciences, Clinical psychology, Health education
Keywords: Autism, Child life, Neurodiversity
Publication Number: 1538498
ISBN: 978-1-303-11710-7
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