Identifier

etd-08142016-173027

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder with hallmark symptoms that can be severely impairing to both the individual and the overall family dynamic. The path to diagnostic and therapy services is often lengthy and complex. Despite various state and federal efforts to improve service access, disparities remain evident across ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic lines with caregivers reporting financial, cultural, geographic, and practical (e.g., transportation, scheduling) barriers. For those able to access treatment, several interventions have been proven efficacious in addressing ASD symptoms, problem behaviors, and adaptive skills deficits. Other often-used interventions include those without established merit for ASD. This study found a tendency for income, insurance type, and ethnicity to affect service access. Out of pocket costs remain a significant barrier to evidence-based services. Scheduling difficulties and long wait lists impact diagnostic services, as do perceptions of misguided reassurances from professionals (e.g., healthcare worker stating “he’ll grow out of it”). Disparities in service use indicate a need to develop policy, practice, and family-level strategies to address barriers to ASD services.

Date

2016

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Matson, Johnny L.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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