Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Kendra Garrett, Ph.D., LICSW


Social Work


This quantitative research study explored the role of the school social worker in supporting parents of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Surveys were emailed to members of the Minnesota School Social Workers Association. Participants were asked to complete the survey if they worked as a school social worker and supported students with ASD. The survey investigated the impact of an ASD diagnosis on the parental stress and what role school social workers had in supporting parents’ needs. The objective of this study was to gain a better understanding of the school social workers’ role and identify what supports are being utilized and which are not. The three most common supports were connecting parents to community resources, acting as a liaison between school and home and emotional support. Respondents reported parents most frequently report stress relating to behavior, educational needs and lack of resources. Some respondents reported certain areas of stress in which they did not feel it was their place to provide supports such as parent support groups. These findings also uncover implications for future research. There is a need for more detailed research investigating the role school social workers have in supporting parents of a child with ASD. It is important to identify what stressors these parents are experiencing in order to develop best practice and interventions.

Included in

Social Work Commons