Autism spectrum disorder is the most common pervasive developmental disorder affecting young children. It results in significant impairments in the acquisition of language, social, and adaptive behaviors. In recent years, participation in intensive early intervention has resulted in significant improvements in communication skills and a more positive prognosis. While the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, such as impaired social reciprocal interactions, can be identified in the first months of a child's life, parents often encounter difficulty in obtaining appropriate diagnostic assessments. Delays in the assessment process result in a later involvement in critical early intervention and a poorer outcome. To date there is a lack of information educating parents on the need for and the nature of the assessment process. This dissertation sought to develop a resource manual to help parents understand and recognize early warning signs of autism spectrum disorder, increase their awareness about the assessment process, and the importance and impact of early identification and early intervention. A review of the research and literature were conducted and graphs, tables, and checklists were developed to create a parent-friendly resource manual. A survey was emailed to 25 experts in the field of autism and their feedback was incorporated into the manual. The goal of the manual was to empower parents to become effective advocates for their child and to follow through on having their child assessed in order to access early intervention. A potential plan for future evaluation, revision, and dissemination of the resource manual was also discussed.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Autism spectrum disorders in children
Date of Award
Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Lin, Tiffany, "A.W.A.R.E. the assessment of autism spectrum disorders: a resource manual for parents with young children (ages 0-3 years)" (2011). Theses and Dissertations. 110.