Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Child Development



First Reader/Committee Chair

Kamptner, Laura


Research studies continue to show that being a parent of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) presents unique challenges for many families including understanding ASD deficits and behaviors, and identifying effective ways to manage these behaviors. Because ASD interventions generally take a behaviorally-based approach, parents tend to lack an understanding of child development, positive child guidance practices, ways to build strong parent-child relationships, and methods to engage in enrichment activities that will support their child’s overall development. The purpose of the current project was to create a parent workshop to help parents of children with ASD: 1) understand the underlying factors related to the challenging behaviors of children with ASD, 2) teach parents how to combine ABA with “positive child guidance” strategies to assist them in managing their child’s ASD behaviors, and 3) enhance parents’ knowledge of child development, ways to build strong parent-child relationships, and methods to engage with their child in enrichment activities. Pre-post workshop assessment scores showed an increase in participants’ knowledge and confidence in these three project goals. Future trainings should include other caregivers and professionals working with children with ASD to empower them with the skills needed to effectively manage challenging behaviors and at the same time support children’s overall development.