Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gragg, Marcia (Psychology)

Keywords

Psychology, Clinical.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

This study examined factors influencing parents toward obtaining early diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for their children. Parents of children diagnosed with ASD at or before 30 months became concerned about development at an average of 16 months, while parents of children diagnosed later became concerned at 25 months. The younger children were at initial concern, the younger they received their diagnoses. Over 58% were referred for assessment of ASD by speech and language pathologists or occupational therapists. Parents reported that their persistence was a major factor in obtaining diagnoses. Parents described feelings of relief and gratitude when they received the diagnosis because they had direction on how to help their children. Parents emphasized their need to be heard when they approached health professionals about their concerns for their children's development. Implications of the results for promoting public awareness of early symptoms related to ASD are discussed.

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