Graduation Date

5-2018

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, Ph.D.

Second Reader

Jacquelyn Urbani, Ph.D.

Abstract

My research aims to address how supported living environments for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) can best support their stakeholders. This is an inherently human and personal problem, but existing research tackling this problem utilizing a person-centric and/or resiliency theory lens or framework is lacking. My research will use the perspective of parents/guardians and staff/caregivers in combination with existing knowledge and research to create ideas for how to maximize support in supported living environments for adults with ASD and their families. This is a qualitative study that uses a humanized approach and in-person interviews with stake-holders to highlight their perspectives and understandings. It was found that there was a great deal of internal and external tension for stakeholders, both within themselves and in relationships with each other. Examples of these tensions include: providing care vs. promoting independence; professionalism vs. friendship; and self-actualization vs. assimilation. These tensions pushed stakeholders to explore and evaluate difficult topics which must be addressed in order to have a truly supportive living environment. The implication is that supported living environments should provide opportunities to air these tensions and explore their roots, leading to productive conversations, greater cohesiveness, greater trust, and more individualized supports.

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