Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instr and Curr Leadership


Special Education

Committee Chair

Laura Casey

Committee Member

Mark Conley

Committee Member

Robert Williamson

Committee Member

Neal Miller


Autism is a diagnosis that often leaves families faced with more questions than answers. With a multitude of choices for possible treatments for a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it is important to understand parental perceptions of what they report as reasons for choosing ASD treatments for their child. The following research used a mixed methods approach in an effort to identify these reasons. This study used a survey that was available online through autism related communities. The quantitative analysis consisted of a Fischer’s Exact test. The results for these tests indicated that there were no correlations between the ASD diagnoses or length of time the child had an ASD diagnosis and the treatments the parents reported selecting. In addition, there was no correlations between the parent’s education and the ASD treatments parents reported selecting. From a qualitative perspective, five themes emerged. The themes were as follows: 1) Parents were overwhelmed with the enormous amount of information about ASD treatments; 2) Information about ASD treatments was confusing and conflicting; 3) Parental input and desired outcomes were significant factors when determining the types of goals selected for ASD treatment(s); 4) Concerns about safety, ability to use a treatment, or the necessity of a treatment largely contributed to the treatments parents reported they did not select; and 5) Encountering problems when selecting or implementing an ASD treatment affected the selection of or continued use of a treatment. This mixed methods approach was an initial step toward future research that may delve into a more scientific causal analysis of parental treatment choices for ASD.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.