Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Communication Disorders

First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Hardman

Second Advisor

Mrs. Carol Morgan

Third Advisor

Dr. Amber Chelette

Abstract

The Center for Disease Control reports current research that indicates 1 in every 68 children in the United States has the diagnostic label of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research literature of the past 20 years has warned of the possible dangers of labels, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the potentially negative impact these labels can have on an individual throughout a lifetime.

This project investigates college students' perceptions of the label Autism Spectrum Disorder in regard to a child's educational potential and later employment. College students viewed a four-minute video of a child in solitary play. One-half of the participants were informed that the child had the diagnostic label of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); the other half were given no information about the child. Once the college student viewed the video, s/he was prompted to complete a 25-question survey in which the college student rated each statement according to Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree.

Preliminary findings based on the results of 235 completed surveys indicated the diagnostic label of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) negatively impacted a college student's perception of a child's educational potential and/or social skills. These findings are consistent with previous research regarding the potentially negative impact of diagnostic labels, specifically for Autism Spectrum Disorder, and perceptions of others in regard to educational potential and future employment.

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