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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

MA in Child Development


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a life-long developmental disorder that impairs a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. The core features of ASD are deficits in communication/social interaction and the presence of restricted, repetitive behaviors. These symptoms appear in early childhood and range in severity. Therefore, no two children are likely to express ASD in the exact same way. There is no cure for the disorder, but early recognition and interventions are highly beneficial in mitigating its effects. It is now widely known that behavioral interventions, cognitive interventions, and various therapies promote positive long- term outcomes in children on the spectrum. Parents play an integral role in deciding which interventions are best for their children and reporting effectiveness in research. This work explores the process of how a child receives a diagnosis and considers the many interventions and special education services available to children with ASD. It also examines the relationship between parent conceptions of ASD and the interventions they choose, identifying the factors that compel parents to select certain interventions over others. Culminating in a case study of a child receiving interventions in a school environment, this work demonstrates how crucial it is that ASD be detected early and that services are accessible to all children with ASD.