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Improving vision awareness in autism services: Evaluation of a dedicated education programme for support practitioners

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Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

Published online on


Background The research reported here sought to evaluate whether a dedicated education programme in vision awareness improved the knowledge and skills of autism support practitioners in identifying visual impairment in autistic people with intellectual disabilities and providing better support to those individuals identified as visually impaired. Methods Researchers undertook a mixed methods evaluation. A survey questionnaire was devised and administered before and after training and focus groups were undertaken in order to gain qualitative data relating how practitioners implemented their learning in practice. Results Knowledge confidence and practice confidence scores of participants were significantly improved by the programme, which maintained its impact one year on. Practitioners reported increased access to optometry, changes to support practice and improvements to service environments as a result of the training. Conclusion Autism support practitioners’ skills in identifying and supporting people with visual impairments were demonstrably enhanced through dedicated vision training.