Nigerian teachers’ understanding of autism spectrum disorder: a comparative study of teachers from urban and rural Lagos State

Remi Odunsi, Philip Garner, David Preece

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Abstract

Aim: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability characterised by difficulties in social interaction and social communication and restricted and repetitive behaviour (American Psychiatric Association 2013). Despite its worldwide nature, research is low in some areas. This is particularly true for sub-Saharan Africa, where there is a paucity of research in some areas, including education. This paper seeks to begin to address this gap by exploring teachers’ understanding of ASD in Nigeria. Method: Using an adapted version of the Knowledge About Childhood Autism Among Health Workers (KCAHW) questionnaire (Bakare et al 2008), a total of 177 mainstream primary teachers from Lagos State (112 from eleven urban schools and 65 from four rural schools) were surveyed concerning their knowledge of the condition. Results: The total mean score on the Adapted KCAHW questionnaire among all teachers participating in the study was 10.81 ± 4.13 out of a total of 16 possible. The mean score for urban teachers was 11.21 ± 4.31, while the mean score for rural teachers was 10.11 ± 3.75. In total, 46% of the urban teachers and 31% of the rural teachers demonstrated a generally accurate knowledge of ASD, with 15% of the whole sample answering all questions correctly – twenty-three urban and four rural teachers. Over 50% of urban teachers and almost 70% of rural teachers surveyed had only a low or moderate understanding of ASD. Conclusions: This research supports previous studies in identifying professional knowledge and understanding regarding ASD to be low, identifying a need for improved professional education and training. Limitations: This study has focused only on one state within Nigeria, and upon mainstream primary schools only. Further research is necessary both across the educational age range and different geographical areas in the country.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability, CBR and Inclusive Development
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2017

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autism
teacher
Nigeria
childhood
worker
rural school
questionnaire
health
primary school
education
disability
communication
interaction

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Nigeria
  • teachers

Cite this

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title = "Nigerian teachers’ understanding of autism spectrum disorder: a comparative study of teachers from urban and rural Lagos State",
abstract = "Aim: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability characterised by difficulties in social interaction and social communication and restricted and repetitive behaviour (American Psychiatric Association 2013). Despite its worldwide nature, research is low in some areas. This is particularly true for sub-Saharan Africa, where there is a paucity of research in some areas, including education. This paper seeks to begin to address this gap by exploring teachers’ understanding of ASD in Nigeria. Method: Using an adapted version of the Knowledge About Childhood Autism Among Health Workers (KCAHW) questionnaire (Bakare et al 2008), a total of 177 mainstream primary teachers from Lagos State (112 from eleven urban schools and 65 from four rural schools) were surveyed concerning their knowledge of the condition. Results: The total mean score on the Adapted KCAHW questionnaire among all teachers participating in the study was 10.81 ± 4.13 out of a total of 16 possible. The mean score for urban teachers was 11.21 ± 4.31, while the mean score for rural teachers was 10.11 ± 3.75. In total, 46{\%} of the urban teachers and 31{\%} of the rural teachers demonstrated a generally accurate knowledge of ASD, with 15{\%} of the whole sample answering all questions correctly – twenty-three urban and four rural teachers. Over 50{\%} of urban teachers and almost 70{\%} of rural teachers surveyed had only a low or moderate understanding of ASD. Conclusions: This research supports previous studies in identifying professional knowledge and understanding regarding ASD to be low, identifying a need for improved professional education and training. Limitations: This study has focused only on one state within Nigeria, and upon mainstream primary schools only. Further research is necessary both across the educational age range and different geographical areas in the country.",
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Nigerian teachers’ understanding of autism spectrum disorder: a comparative study of teachers from urban and rural Lagos State. / Odunsi, Remi; Garner, Philip; Preece, David.

In: Disability, CBR and Inclusive Development, Vol. 28, No. 3, 27.11.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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