Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Colin Hollidge

Abstract

1 in 88 children are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, a condition that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and relate socially to other people, as well as cause a person to partake in repetitive or stereotyped behaviors. There are several interventions parents and professionals can utilize to remediate the three core deficits of Autism, however the theories behind what should be focused on in these treatment models are very different. This qualitative study aimed to investigate the factors that guide clinicians’ preferences and perceptions of a behavioral and developmental model as well as analyzed the interventions for autistic symptoms employed by developmental and behavioral theories--specifically looking at the Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based (DIR) model and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). A total of six experienced ASD clinicians were interviewed: three working under a development scope and three practicing under the behavioral scope. Each clinician was asked a series of questions concerning which model they prefer, their knowledge of both models, and how their knowledge was gained. Primary factors guiding participant’s perceptions stemmed from independent research, parent reports, and colleague reports. Strengths and deficits of each model identified by all participating clinicians were congruent with current literature but the rationale concerning the strengths and deficits differed depending on the participant’s theoretical lens. These themes were identified and explained in this clinical research.

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