Including Children with Autism in Family Activities: A Qualitative Study

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L

Thesis Advisor

Stacy Frauwirth, MS, OTR/L

Second Advisor

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L


The prevalence of autism has dramatically increased in the United States over the past 20-30 years. The purpose of this research thesis was to study the strategies parents use to include their children with autism in family activities, how the parents developed the strategies, and how their strategies changed as the children matured. The research design chosen for this thesis was a descriptive qualitative research method using semi-structured interviews to gain a comprehensive summary of the parenting strategies of children with autism. The results of the study found three themes: “autism runs their lives”, “looking out for my child and me , and leaving nothing to chance”.

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