Semester of Graduation

Summer 2021

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Clinical Psychology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by impairments in social communication and the presence of restricted, repetitive behaviors. The impairments which are commonly associated with ASD manifest during early development as delayed speech or impaired social skills, for example. These early indicators are often noticed by parents who convey concern to medical professionals. Research has found associations between these early parental concerns and a later diagnosis of autism, noting their predictive validity. Research has yet to address the relationship between types of parental concerns and developmental functioning. This study examined whether certain parent reported concerns are more predictive of impaired developmental functioning assessed by a standardized measure in toddlers with ASD or developmental delay (DD). The DD group was found to have significantly higher frequencies of parent-reported language concerns, while the ASD group had significantly higher frequencies of general developmental concerns, multiple concerns, and other concerns. Individuals with ASD had significantly greater developmental impairment than the DD group across first concern types. For the ASD group, greatest developmental impairment was found for those with general developmental concerns, followed by motor, multiple, other, sensory, communication, and language concerns. For the DD group, greatest developmental impairment was found for those with general developmental concerns, followed by multiple, motor, other, language, communication, and sensory concerns.

Committee Chair

Matson, Johnny

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