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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Knowledge and Stigma: China and the US

In the preface to The Politics of Autism, I note that we need more comparative studies of autism

ASD in China differs considerably from ASD in the West in terms of prevalence estimates, education opportunities and life outcomes of autistic people. The lack of ASD awareness could be a key factor underlying these disparities. We asked 1127 U.S. citizens and 1254 Chinese citizens about their autism knowledge using the Autism Stigma and Knowledge Questionnaire (ASK-Q).The results indicated profoundly different public views about ASD in China compared to the U.S. Specifically, only 57%-65% of the Chinese citizens demonstrated adequate ASD knowledge compared to 86%-91% in the U.S. citizens. Fourteen percent of the U.S. citizens were shown to hold stigma beliefs towards ASD; in comparison, 38% of the Chinese citizens indicated ASD stigma. The Chinese citizens displayed misconceptions about ASD related to symptoms, causes, and possible long-term outcomes. In China but not in the U.S., male citizens and citizens with lower social economic status were more likely to have misconceptions about ASD than others were. The findings of this research can help increase public awareness about ASD and create a more inclusive environment for autistic people in China.
From the article:
Both Chinese and U.S. citizens responded poorly to item 8. Many of them believed medication can alleviate ASD core symptoms (44%, 39%), despite the fact that so
far there is no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)- approved medication to treat ASD core symptoms
. The only drugs approved by the FDA for ASD are antipsychotics for alleviating autism-related irritability and aggression, rather than the core symptoms (LeClerc & Easley, 2015). In China, previous surveys of parents of autistic children indicate that some parents hold strong beliefs of promising pharmaceutical treatment in near future and thus feel no current targeted behavioral intervention is needed (Hu et al., 2015). Our findings suggest broad public misunderstanding of pharmaceutical treatment for ASD in China as well as in the United States.
  • Hu, X., Zheng, Q., & Xu, S. (2015). The dilemma and coping strategies of family education for children with ASD in China. Journal of Modern Special Education, 22, 18–24
  • LeClerc, S., & Easley, D. (2015). Pharmacological therapies for autism spectrum disorder: A review. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 40(6), 389–397.