Date of Award


Document Type



Communication Disorders

First Reader

Dr. Nancy Hardman

Second Reader

Professor Carol Morgan

Third Reader

Dr. Amber Chelette


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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.