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Original Research Articles

Nigerian Teachers’ Understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comparative Study of Teachers from Urban and Rural areas of Lagos State

Authors:

Remi Odunsi,

Centre for Education and Research, University of Northampton, GB
About Remi

Remi Odunsi completed her degree at University of Ife, Ile-Ife. She moved to UK in 1985, where she studied Mineral Processing before training as a Mathematics teacher at University of Kent. Her experience as a Special Needs Coordinator led her to undertake a Master's Degree in Special Education (Autism) at University of Birmingham. She is currently completing her PhD research on ASD in Nigeria from University of Northampton. She is married with two adult children, one of whom has ASD.

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David Preece ,

Centre for Education and Research, University of Northampton, GB
About David

David Preece is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Humanities at University of Northampton. He has worked at the University since 2012; before this he had a 30 year career as a practitioner and manager in the field of social care across all areas of disability, but with a main focus on autism. His main area of research interest is the impact of autism and disability upon the family. He is currenty leading an EU-funded project developing and evaluating parent education in autism in SE Europe.

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Philip Garner

Centre for Education and Research, University of Northampton, GB
About Philip

Philip Garner is Professor of Education at University of Northampton. He taught in mainstream and special schools for 17 years, including 5 years as head of a specialist setting for young people who present challenging behaviour. He is a British Academy Fellow, the editor of Support for Learning and an Expert Assessor in Education and Psychology at the European Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). He has acted as consultant to government education departments in Malaysia, Ireland, Croatia, Australia, FYR Macedonia and Hong Kong.

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Abstract

Purpose: 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 prevalence the world over, there is a paucity of research in some areas such as education, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper attempts to address the 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 survey was conducted among 177 mainstream primary teachers from Lagos State (112 from eleven urban schools and 65 from four rural schools).

Results: The total mean score on the Adapted KCAHW questionnaire among all the participating teachers was 10.81 ± 4.13 out of a possible total of 16. 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% (23 urban teachers and 4 rural teachers) of the sample answering all questions correctly.  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 that identified low professional knowledge and understanding of ASD, and a need for improved professional education and training. 

Limitations: The focus was on only one state within Nigeria, and only on mainstream primary schools. Further research is necessary across the educational age range as well as different geographical areas in the country.

Keywords: Education, knowledge
How to Cite: Odunsi, R., Preece, D. and Garner, P., 2017. Nigerian Teachers’ Understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comparative Study of Teachers from Urban and Rural areas of Lagos State. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 28(3), pp.98–114. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5463/dcid.v28i3.637
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Published on 27 Nov 2017.

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