Graduation Date

5-2016

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

First Reader

Suresh Appavoo, Ed.D.

Second Reader

Colleen Arnold, M.S.

Abstract

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) lack social and communication skills, leading to challenging behaviors. This impacts family functioning and can lead to parents being isolated and feeling stressed (Russa, Matthews, & Owen-DeSchryver, 2014). The parents of these children must learn how to handle the challenges that come along with the disorder. Parents of children with ASD need to have more supports in place to feel more supported (Nealy, O’Hare, Powers, & Swick, 2012). The literature revealed that the programs implemented today focus mainly on the child outcomes, lacking focus on parent needs (Samadi, McConkey, & Kelly, 2012). Parents find it challenging to identify the services and supports their child needs and have difficulties accessing them (Russa et al., 2014). There is also a need for collaboration between the various programs that these children obtain services from (Nealy et al., 2012). Additionally, parents report having problems finding information for their child (Russa et al., 2014, p. 95). Information on ASD is constantly changing, making it hard for parents to know what information is accurate and reliable. The study included interviews with parents who have a child with ASD. Each participant was asked eleven questions. The questions pertained to the quality of supports that the child and parent receive. Through evaluating parent responses, the researcher was able to obtain valuable information regarding how parents feel about the supports they receive.