Article #9

ARTICLE REFERENCE

Staniland, J. J., & Byrne, M. K. (2013). The effects of a multi-component higher-functioning Autism anti-stigma program on adolescent boys. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, (Vol. 43), 2816-2829. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1829-4

PURPOSE

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a multi-session high functioning autism (HFA) anti-stigma program using descriptive, explanatory and directive information.

METHOD

The study included 395 middle school boys from regular classes in an all boys school. Random classes were allocated to each the intervention condition and the non-intervention condition. Participants completed a pre-test of knowledge, attitudes and behavioural intentions one week before commencement of the program, as well as a post-test one week after, and again one month after completion of the program. Participants were also asked to complete online reflections and participate in online discussions after each session.

OUTCOMES

Results indicated that after completion of the program:

  • Students had more knowledge about HFA
  • Students had more positive attitudes towards their HFA peers.
  • There were no associated improvements to their behavioural intentions to engage with their HFA peers.
  • Results of the study are consistent with others that have found success with school-based anti-stigma interventions.

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IMPLICATIONS FOR CHANGE PROJECT

This study is evidence of the value and benefits of creating more awareness about disabilities and disorders (in this case, specifically about Autism). As a result of this information, I will be placing increased focus on the lesson “The Brain and Disabilities” from the Respecting Diversity program. This will be especially important with Group B, which includes students with a variety of disabilities (including Autism).

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