USA Autism Survey - Vaccines Damned
October 3, 2008
School of Psychology
Florida Institute of Technology
First National Public Opinion Survey:
Americans’ Knowledge and Understanding of Autism, 2008
The first national survey of the public’s knowledge and understanding of autism was conducted for the School of Psychology at Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida. The survey includes responses from 1000 men and women, 21 years old or older, randomly selected from throughout the nation. The poll has a plus or minus 3.1% confidence interval at a 95% level of confidence. The telephone interviews were conducted between August 1 and August 29 by GDA Education Research, Mount Pleasant, SC.
• With autism now the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, more than 80% of survey respondents say every state should have an early intervention program for children from birth to age three. An even larger percentage (83%) thought that finding a cure for autism should be a national priority. This at a time when the Centers for Disease Control reports that autism affects one in 150 children born in the United States.
• Nearly one in four (24%) respondents said that because vaccines may cause autism it was safer not to have children vaccinated at all. Another 19% were not sure.
• About eight of ten (82%) respondents know that autistic people of all ages can benefit from treatment and 77% say behavioral therapists are key individuals in the treatment of people with autism. An additional 73% believe behavior therapies are the most effective way to get autistic individuals to maximize their capabilities.
• About four of ten (39%) survey respondents know a person with autism. They had a better understanding of the disorder, except for its cause, than those who do not know someone with autism. Those who know someone with autism are more likely (21% vs. 17%) to believe the disorder was caused by a preservative once found in childhood vaccines.
• Young parents feel better informed than older parents about autism and tended to be much more concerned that their children would be autistic. Nearly eight of 10 (77%) of all parents were either not concerned their children would be autistic or not aware of autism, For younger parents (ages 21-28), 63% were slightly, very or extremely concerned their children would be autistic. Only 10% of parents in their seventies and 14% of those in their sixties were slightly, very or extremely concerned their children would be autistic.
• Six of ten (61%) of respondents feel informed or very informed about health issues in general, but only 26% feel familiar or very familiar about autism. Those who described themselves as being very familiar with autism (9%) were more likely to consider it a high priority for funding (36%).
• Nearly six of ten (58%) respondents think the presidential candidates should have a plan for curing autism.
• About half of all respondents (48%) feel the national media do a good, very good or excellent job in keeping them up-to-date on health issues and research. Slightly more than half (52%) say the national media do an average or poor job. Nearly two of three (64%) respondents believe the media give less or much less attention to autism than it deserves.
• The 39% of respondents who said they knew a person with autism tended to be female (65%), white (75%), middle-aged (57% were between 29 and 58) and well-educated (54% had at least a bachelor’s degree).
• Respondents who were deemed to be knowledgeable about autism (as determined by those who responded correctly to 18 of 21 factual statements about the neurological disorder) tended to be women (62%), aged 29 to 58 (66%), married (75%), with children (86%) and well-educated with a baccalaureate and/or advanced degree (65%).
More Information: www.fit.edu
Ivy Chong, Ph.D.
Scott Center for Autism Treatment
Florida Institute of Technology
GDA Education Research
Mount Pleasant, SC
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Thu, October 2nd, 2008. 11:03 pm