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J Autism Dev Disord. 2007 Aug;37(7):1337-43. Epub 2006 Nov 1.

Adults' versus children's perceptions of a child with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University of Newfoundland, A2H 6P9, Corner Brook, NL, Canada.


The present study examined public perceptions toward children with autism or with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A convenience sample was used consisting of 30 children (7-12-year-olds) and 30 adults. Participants read a stereotyped scenario featuring either a child with autism, a child with ADHD, or a normal child. Child participants were significantly more likely than adults to (a) express dislike/avoidance toward a child described with either stereotypic autistic or ADHD behaviors, and (b) perceive the child with ADHD as unlike themselves. However, child participants and adults were equally likely to see the autistic child as unlike themselves. Reasons for the different perceptions of children and adults may include differences in perceived threat and in categorization.

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