Date Approved

11-15-2018

Embargo Period

11-19-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA Special Education

Department

Interdisciplinary & Inclusive Eduction

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Accardo, Amy

Second Advisor

Kuder, Sydney J.

Third Advisor

Xin, Joy

Subject(s)

Children with autism spectrum disorders--Family relationships

Disciplines

Special Education and Teaching

Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects millions of children and families alike and is characterized by impairments in socialization, communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviors. The impairments caused by ASD vary in severity and may negatively impact a child’s functioning. The purpose of this exploratory research is to critically examine ASD and how it impacts family units following diagnosis. To that end, this qualitative study provides first-hand accounts of families who have lived through their child’s ASD diagnosis. This study provides accounts from four participating families on the topics of their personal feelings of ASD, their knowledge of ASD before and after their child’s diagnosis, the impact on their family dynamic, ASD’s affect on inter-familial relationships, support systems used to persevere, their acceptance (or nonacceptance) of the diagnosis, and educational supports used to assist in their child’s development. The implications of this research provide a deeper knowledge base and insight for affected families, social workers, teachers, therapists and non-affected families alike to understand the wide range of issues that ASD can and does present as well as reinforces the appropriate resources necessary to support and enable affected families to persevere.

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