Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah Ferguson


Social Work


Research shows that increased parental involvement has a positive impact on children with autism; however, there is a need for continued research pertaining to how their involvement improves and/or influences outcomes of their children with autism (Walker, Wilkins, Dallaire, Sandler, & Hoover-Dempsey, 2005). This study set out to investigate the ways in which parents of children (ages 2-7) with autism are involved in their children’s early intervention program(s) and how this involvement influences their child’s social skills and behavior. More specially, this study explored the association between parental involvement and the behavior and social skills of children with autism receiving services though an early intervention program.

This Ecological Framework has been applied to this study and calls attention to the value of looking at more than just the individual. Rather than simply focusing only on the child with autism, there should be a focus on all interrelated systems that affect that child’s development. In relation to this research, in order for parent involvement (a micro-system) to affect the social skills and behavior (another micro-system) of their child with autism, there needs to be involvement with the child’s early intervention program (a meso-system).

Thirty parents of children ages 2-7 with an autism diagnosis participated in this study. These participants also identified that their children are in an early intervention program.The subjects were recruited through an organization called Autism Speaks which is the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization. The chosen research design for this study was a quantitative survey which was posted on the Autism Speaks website. Participants responded voluntarily. This cross-sectional study focused on research pertaining to parental involvement in early intervention programs and the social skills and behavior of their children (ages 2-7) with autism.

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Social Work Commons