A Survey of Lay Knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Malaysia

Hui Min Low


Today, increasingly more people worldwide are aware about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, their actual understanding about ASD is yet unknown. In this study, the lay knowledge on the social communication and language deficits of ASD was investigated using a brief survey involving an elite sample in Malaysia. The survey findings revealed that the vast majority of the respondents had superficial understanding about the social communication and language deficits of ASD. In general, they could relate to ASD as a type of learning disability, but they were less familiar with the diagnostic features and remedial needs of ASD. Another key finding was that the respondents reported different sources of obtaining ASD knowledge according to their demographic profiles (namely age, gender, education and occupation), which correspondingly led to variability in the type of knowledge they obtained. Together, the findings implied that content-specific ASD awareness programs through the right channels are warranted for optimizing efficacy in knowledge transfer and minimizing redundancy in existing ASD awareness campaigns. Increased lay knowledge on ASD will provide a public guardian ground for children with ASD to ensure that the challenges faced by them can be identified at an early age for optimizing the remedial outcomes.


DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.17576/JSKM-2021-1901-06


autism spectrum disorder; Malaysia, lay knowledge; social communication; language

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