Date of Award

Summer 8-12-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy - School Psychology


Human Services

First Advisor

Dr. Ginger Kelso

Second Advisor

Dr. Luis Aguerrevere

Third Advisor

Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Frank Mullins

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Catherine Pearte



Autism Spectrum Disorder is a disorder that is present during a child’s early developmental ages; affects that child’s ability to communicate and socially interact with others; and involves the presentation of restrictive interests and/or repetitive behaviors. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms/behaviors are recognized by parents and can be reliably diagnosed at age two but often are not diagnosed until after age four. Delay in diagnosis results in loss of important intervention services that can improve the well-being of children with ASD. This study examined ethnicity, severity of symptoms, and type of symptoms and their effect on the age at which parents first became concerned about their child’s development and the age at which the child was diagnosed with ASD. Data was collected from archived client records at a regional children’s clinic. Results indicated that there were no ethnic differences in age of first parental concern or diagnosis; Severity of symptoms was associated with earlier age of first parental concern and diagnosis; and while parents reported Speech/Communication concerns most often, multiple first concerns was associated with earlier recognition by parents and diagnosis. Efforts should be made to educate the public on the more subtle symptoms and behaviors associated with ASD. It is recommended that autism evaluation services be available in schools as part of pre-school screening services.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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