Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

MA School Psychology




College of Science & Mathematics


DiHoff, Roberta

Committee Member 1

Callueng, Carmelo


Autism, Divorce, Families, Special Needs


Children with autism spectrum disorders; Parents of autistic children


School Psychology


A number of children in the United States are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder each year. In the past several years, there has been an increase in this diagnosis. Along with this increase, there has been an increase in the variety of therapies, resources, and services available to children diagnosed with ASD. However, previous research has shown that there is a lack of resources for the parents and families of those children. The purpose of the current study is to gain insight into the daily lives of a family who has a child with Autism in order to assess the level of functionality and morale felt within the family from the perspective of a parent in both nuclear and non-typical families. A survey was used to collect data from 31 male and female parents who have at least one child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder between the ages of 3-21. Results of the study revealed that there is a correlation between the amount of stress felt within a family and the level at which they feel they function on a day-to-day basis. Understanding the stress felt by families of a child with special needs may lead to an increase in resources for the parents, siblings, and the families as a whole.