Knowledge and attitude concerning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) among Taif Medical College students Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Farihan Farouk Helmy


Background: To Assess the knowledge about childhood ASD among second and sixth year medical students in Taif medical college KSA.

Methods: The cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in medical college - Taif City, KSA-from September to December 2016. All students of second and sixth year present at time of data collection were included in our study. Data collection was done by Knowledge About Childhood Autism Among Health Worker questionnaire from second and sixth year medical students. Data was analyzed using SPSS 20.

Results: Second year (Group A) out of 163 students who completed the study 88 (54.0%) males, and 75 (46.0%) females, regarding sixth year (Group B) total respondents were 84 students 44 (52.4%) males and 40 (47.6%). The mean score of questionnaire assessing knowledge for group B was (8.99±1.91) which was statistically significant higher than group A (6.44±2.24) p=<0.001*. Also the attitude score for group B (3.92±0.97) was statistically significant higher than group A (3.29±1.33) p=<0.001*. Moreover, there was a significant correlation between total overall knowledge and attitude of our study sample p= <0.001*

Conclusions: Medical students curriculum should include information about ASD allowing them better screening, early diagnosis, thus better prognosis. 


ASD, Attitude, Children, College students, Knowledge

Full Text:



Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). 4th Ed. Washington (DC): American Psychiatric Association; 2000.

Mesibov G, Shea P. Full inclusion and students with autism. J Autism Dev Disord. 1996;26(3):337-46.

Elsabbagh M, Divan G, Koh YJ, Kim YS, Kauchali S, Marcin C, et al. Global prevalence of autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. Autism Res. 2012;5:160-79.

Newschaffer C, Croen L, Daniels J, Giarelli E, Grether J, Levy S, et al. The epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders . Annu Rev Public Health. 2007;28:235-58.

Manning-Courtney P, Murray D, Currans K, Johnson H, Bing N, Kroeger-Geoppinger K,

et al. Autism spectrum disorders. Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2013;43:2-11.

Eapen V, Mabrouk A, Zoubeidi T, Yunis F. Prevalence of pervasive developmental disorders in preschool children in the UAE. J Trop Pediatr. 2007;53:202-5.

Al-Salehi SM, Al-Hifthy EH, Ghaziuddin M. Autism in Saudi Arabia: presentation, clinical correlates and comorbidity. Transcult Psychiatry. 2009;46(2):340-7.

Al-Farsi Y, Al-Sharbati M, Al-Farsi O, Al-Shafaee M, Brooks D, Waly M. Brief report: Prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders in the Sultanate of Oman. J Autism Dev Disord. 2011;41:821-5.

Al-Ansari A, Ahmed M. Epidemiology of autistic disorder in Bahrain: prevalence and obstetric and familial characteristics. Mediterr Health J. 2013;19:769-74.

Harris S, Weiss M. Right from the start Behavioral intervention for young children with autism. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House; 1998.

Sheinkopf SJ, Siegel B. Home based behavioral treatment of young children with autism. J Autism Dev Disord. 1998;28(1):15-23.

Shah K. Research in brief: what do medical students know about autism?. Autism. 2001;5(2):127-33.

Haimour A, Obaidat Y. School Teachers’ Knowledge about Autism in Saudi Arabia. World J Educ. 2013;3(5):45.

Stone WL. Cross-disciplinary perspectives on autism. J Pediatr Psychol. 1987;12(4):615-30.

Furnham A, Buck C. A comparison of lay-beliefs about autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Int J Soc Psychiatr 2003;49(4):287-307.

Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), Software Statistics 17.0.1 for Windows (Version 17.0.1). Armonk, New Yor: SPSS Inc; 2009.

Sandler A, Brazdziunas C, Cooley W. The Pediatrician's Role in the Diagnosis and Management of Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Children Pediatrics. Committee on Children With Disabilities. Am Acad Pediatr. 2001;107(5):e85.

Faheem M, Mathew S, AlQahtani M. Mathew S. Autism Spectrum Disorder: knowledge, attitude, and awareness in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. BMC Genomics. 2016;17(6):62.

Arif MM, Niazy A, Hassan B, Ahmed F. Awareness of autism in primary school teachers. Autism Res Treat. 2013;2013:961595.

Dawson G, Osterling J. Early intervention in autism. In: Guralnick MJ (ed). The Effectiveness of Early Intervention. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. 1997:307-26.

Smith T, Lovaas OI. Intensive and early behavioural intervention with autism: the UCLA young autism project. Infants Young Child. 1998;10:67-78.

Shaukat F, Fatima A, Zehra N, Hussein M, Ismail O. Assessment of knowledge about childhood autism among medical students from private and public universities in Karachi. JPMA J Pak Med Assoc. 2014;64(11):1331-4.

Igwe M, Bakare M, Agomoh A, Onyeama G, Okonkwo K. Factors influencing knowledge about childhood autism among final year undergraduate Medical, Nursing and Psychology students of University of Nigeria, Enugu State, Nigeria. Ital J Pediatr. 2010;36:44