Autism Spectrum Disorders and inclusion attitudes in the Italian school environments: teachers’ knowledge, attitudes, perceptions and their necessity to consult a healthcare multidisciplinary team.

Main Article Content

Luana Conte
Roberto Lupo
Chiara Mazzarella
Antonino Calabrò
Laura Vaglio
Sandro Chirizzi
Carmen Donadio
Maicol Carvello
Alessandra Marsella
Giovanna Artioli
Elsa Vitale


Autism Spectrum Disorder, Inclusion, School


Background: Schools play a key role in detecting early signs of autism and creating a targeted pathway of study and inclusion. This becomes complicated when faced with unknown situations, such as managing a student with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Materials and Methods: A nationwide study involving teachers (n=235) was conducted from March to August 2021. The survey instrument consisted of a questionnaire administered online through social networks containing socio-demographic data, attitudes, knowledge and inclusion plans from school teachers towards students with ASD.

Results: Statistical significant differences were registered for the item no.13: among the main deficits caused by ADS are reduced social cognition, language abnormalities, and impaired sensory functioning. (p=.025); the item no.8 (p=.011): if an intervention works for one child with ASD, it is certain to work on another child with ASD; the item no.3(p=.002): genetic factors play an important role in the causes of ASD. By also considering teacher’s attitudes towards ASD according to the presence of a healthcare worker in the school environment, significant differences were registered for the item no.1 (p=.032): the interpretation that the diagnostic criteria for Asperger's syndrome are the same as for high-functioning autism; the item no.6 (p=.025): children with ADS are very similar to each other, and the item no.7(p=.015): early intervention does not lead to additional benefits for children with ASD.

Conclusions: The presence of professionals with advanced skills could be a benefit and represent a strong point in the application of measures of prevention and containment of community pathologies.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...
Abstract 494 | PDF Downloads 299


1. Higher Institute of Health and the Ministry of Health. Observatory Project for Monitoring Autism Spectrum Disorders; 2021. Available at: Accessed on October 30, 2021.
2. European Commission. Autism Spectrum Disorders in the European union (ASDEU), DG Santè of the European Commission; 2016. Available at: Accessed on: October 30, 2021.
3. Ministry of Health and Higher Institute of Health. National Observatory for Monitoring Autism Spectrum Disorders; 2021. Available at: Accessed on: October 30, 2021.
4. Colombi C, Narzisi A, Ruta L, Cigala V, Gagliano A, Pioggia G, Siracusano R, Rogers SJ, Muratori F, Prima Pietra Team. Implementation of the Early Start Denver Model in an Italian community. Autism. 2018, 22(2):126-133.
5. Haimour I, Obaidat Yahia F. School Teachers’ Knowledge about Autism in Saudi Arabia: World Journal of Education, 2013.
6. Alharbi KA, Alharbi AA, Al-Thunayyan FS, Alsuhaibani KA, Alsalameh NS, Alhomaid MH, Albahouth IS, Hamid PF. School’s Teachers Knowledge About Autism in Al- Badayacity, Al-Qassim Region, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Publication date: March 2019, 31(1): 4-9.
7. Gibbs K, Bozaid A. Conceptualising inclusive education in Saudi Arabia through conversations with special education teachers. Improving Schools. 2022, 25(2):101-113.
8. Cavus N, Lawan AA, Ibrahim Z, Dahiru A, Tahir S, Abdulrazak UI, Hussaini A. A Systematic Literature Review on the Application of Machine-Learning Models in Behavioral Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Pers Med. 2021, 11(4):299.
9. Aiello P, Di Gennaro C, Girelli L, Olley JC. Inclusion and teachers’ attitudes toward students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: reflections from a pilot study. Formazione & Insegnamento; 2018.
10. Olley JG, Devellis RF, Devellis BM, Wall AJ, Long CE. The Autism Attitude Scale for Teachers. Except Student. 1981, 47(5):371-2.
11. Segall MJ, Campbell JM. Factors relating to education professionals’ classroom practices for the inclusion of students with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 2012, 6:1156-1167.
12. Park M, Chitiyo M. An examination of teacher attitudes toward students with autism. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs 2011, 11: 70-78.
13. Fretti E. Autism in the DSM 5: the criteria for diagnosis and the main novelties; 2019. Available at: 5/ Accessed on November 5, 2021.
14. Sulkes SB, Golisano MD. Students’ s Hospital at Strong, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Autism Spectrum Disorders; 2021. Available at: Accessed on November 6, 2021.
15. Whitehouse AJO, Varcin KJ, Pillar S, Billingham W, Alvares GA, Barbaro J, Bent CA, Blenkley D, Boutrus M, Chee A, Chetcuti L, Clark A, Davidson E, Dimov S, Dissanayake C, Doyle J, Grant M, Green CC, Harrap M, Iacono T, Matys L, Maybery M, Pope DF, Renton M, Rowbottam C, Sadka N, Segal L, Slonims V, Smith J, Taylor C, Wakeling S, Wan MW, Wray J, Cooper MN, Green J, Hudry K. Effect of Preemptive Intervention on Developmental Outcomes Among Infants Showing Early Signs of Autism: A Randomized Clinical Trial of Outcomes to Diagnosis. JAMA Pediatr. 2021, 175(11):e213298
16. Naples E. Autism and autism spectrum disorders; 2021. Available at: Accessed on November 6, 2021.
17. Calia V. Autism and autism spectrum disorders; 2021. Available at: autistico/ Accessed on November 6, 2021.
18. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders - Fifth Edition. Edited by Biondi M. Raffaello Cortina Editore, Milan 2014.
19. Robins D, Fein D, Barton M. Instructions for Taking and Scoring the M-CHAT-R autism test; 2019. Available at: e-disturbi/autismo-disturbi-dello-spettro-autistico/ Accessed on November 7, 2021.
20. Sharma SR, Gonda X, Tarazi FI. Autism Spectrum Disorder: Classification, diagnosis and therapy. Ther. 2018, 190:91-104.
21. Probst P, Leppert T. Brief report: outcomes of a teacher training program for autism spectrum disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 2008, 38(9):1791-6.
22. Sharma U, Sibilio M. The role of teacher perceptions for inclusive teaching: Why plan teacher training on simplistic theory? Italian Journal of Educational Research 2016, (16): 11-22.
23. Chung W, Chung S, Edgar-Smith S, Palmer RB, De Lambo D, Huang W. An examination of in-service teacher attitudes toward students with autism spectrum disorder: Implications for professional practice. Current Issues in Education 2015, (18)2.
24. McGregor EM, Campbell E. The attitudes of teachers in Scotland to the integration of students with autism into mainstream schools. Autism 2001, 5(2): 189-207.
25. Cottini L, Vivanti G. Autismo come e cosa fare con bambini e ragazzi a scuola. Firenze: Giunti Editore, 2017.
26. Inclusione scolastica: così non va; 2021. Available at: Sul-report-statistico-del-ministero.pdf ( Accessed on February 17, 2022.
27. Vanzetta M. L’infermiere scolastico, un valore aggiunto. [The school nurse, an added value]. L’Infermiere; 2021. Available at: Accessed on November 6, 2021.
28. McIntosh CE, Kandiah J, Boucher NR. Practical Considerations for School Nurses in Improving the Nutrition of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder 2019, 34: 296-302.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 > >> 

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.