Special Education M.A.

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Cavalier, Meghan

Second Reader

Jaclyn Rehmke


As the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continuously increases, more individuals and their families are impacted. Parents may be significantly affected by raising a child with an ASD diagnosis due to increased stress from the diagnostic process, financial strain, navigating challenging behaviors, decreased marital and relationship satisfaction, parental burnout, and mental health-related concerns. The diagnosis may also impact siblings of children with ASD. The symptoms and characteristics of a child with ASD can directly impact sibling relationships. Additionally, marital discord, genetics, age, gender, and birth order may influence the relationship between the child with ASD and their siblings. Siblings of children with ASD may also experience mental health-related concerns and difficulties with peer relationships. However, supports can be provided to help families and improve their quality of life. The guiding research question for this thesis is: What is the impact of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) on family? The first area of research is the specific impact ASD has on parents. The second area of research is the impact ASD has on the siblings of children diagnosed. Lastly, the third area of research is on the support that can be provided for families navigating the challenges of having a child diagnosed with ASD.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis