Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Kendra Garrett


Social Work


This qualitative research study explores how parents use behavior modifications with their children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Seven participants, who are mothers of children diagnosed with autism, were interviewed for this study. This research found that essentially, parents use different techniques applied in various ways in specific situations based on the uniqueness of their child and the behaviors displayed. Several themes emerged from this study which includes: challenging behaviors, behavior modifications used, behavior modification becomes a way of life, the need to individualize behavior modifications, behavior modifications will change as the child changes, challenges of having a child with autism, coping strategies, advice to professionals, and finding the joys.

The respondents displayed creativity and resiliency in their use of behavior modifications for their children. The challenging behaviors displayed varied among different types of behaviors such as sensory-related, verbally and physically aggressive conduct, lack of social skills, and obsessive behaviors. Additionally, each child had unique characteristics which required techniques to be tailored to him/her.

This research study provides further implications to social work practice, in that autism spectrum disorder affects the entire family and supports and resources should encompass the system as a whole. Additionally, social workers must stay abreast on the newest research regarding autism spectrum disorder to provide the best practices.

Included in

Social Work Commons