The objective of this study was to identify the difficulties experienced by staff members providing autism spectrum support services in psychiatry day-hospitals and community institutions for persons with psychiatric disabilities.
A self-administered questionnaire survey was conducted of staff members of WAM NET-listed day-hospitals and community institutions for persons with disabilities in Japan. The questionnaire contained items to determine the experiences, difficulties, views, and other related issues to autism spectrum support services.
A self-administered mail-based questionnaire survey was conducted with 1561 workers involved in support for adolescents and adults without intellectual disabilities at 1561 institutions for disability aid and psychiatry day- hospitals. The response rate was 17.9%. A total of 251 responses to the questionnaires were collected and the data was analyzed.
The percentage of staff who had participated in specialized training programs was 72.4%, and 92.2% of the support to persons with ASD. The difficulties were related to the behavioral characteristics of the care receivers (48.9%), coordination among care users (25.1%), support development (24.9%), and responses of the family and from the workplace (15.1%). In addition, 89.4% of the staff predicted that the support for persons with developmental disorders in psychiatry day-hospitals would increase in the future.
In order to improve communication with users, the staff provided with some devices: to emphasize important information (55.5%), to give users concrete instructions(36%), to allow them to visualize their schedule (28.1%), and to utilize memos (19.1%), pictures, and photographs (15.8%). Of the respondents, 98.6% felt the need for support to the staff, and the types of support that many of the respondents wished for were case studies (39.3%) and study meetings to allow them to acquire medical knowledge (31.7%).
Currently, staff providing support to subjects with Autistic Spectrum Disorders have access to other persons that can give them support and that they can consult with, and are therefore able to participate positively in training programs, however, they still face some difficulties. For psychiatry day-hospitals and community facilities where increase in the numbers of adolescents and adults having ASD without intellectual disabilities are expected, a better understanding of persons with ASD by the staff providing care and improvements in concrete support skills may be necessary.