Effects of autism acceptance training on explicit and implicit biases toward autism

Autism. 2021 Jul;25(5):1246-1261. doi: 10.1177/1362361320984896. Epub 2021 Jan 20.


Autistic adults face prejudice from non-autistic people. They are often judged unfairly and left out of social activities because of their differences. This can make it difficult for autistic people to make friends and find jobs. Some training programs have tried to teach autistic people to act more like non-autistic people to help them gain acceptance. Fewer have focused on teaching non-autistic people how to be more autism friendly. In this study, we used a short training video that teaches people about autism. The video was created with the help of autistic adults and included clips of real autistic people. We found that non-autistic people who watched this video had better knowledge about autism and showed more autism-friendly attitudes than those who watched a video about mental health or those who did not watch any video. They were more open to having a relationship with an autistic person and had more positive beliefs about autism. However, our video did not affect people's unconscious attitudes about autism. People in our study connected autism with unpleasant traits, even if they had watched the autism training video. This suggests that teaching non-autistic people about autism may promote more autism-friendly attitudes, but some beliefs may be harder to change.

Keywords: first impressions; inclusion; intervention; stigma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder*
  • Autistic Disorder*
  • Bias
  • Humans
  • Prejudice