Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Baker, Kim

Reader

Hagstrom, Fran

Second Reader

Aslin, Larry W.

Abstract

A variety of medications is prescribed to treat the symptoms presented by individuals with ASD and any subsequent secondary diagnoses, although there is limited information providing sufficient proof of efficacy. Every person has potential to respond uniquely to any type of stimulus, including medications. It is important to consider the individual when prescribing treatments. A store of anecdotal information that represents the variety found in the population of those with ASD could make this more effective. This study seeks to answer: (a) What pharmaceutical treatments are physicians prescribing for children with ASD at different ages and with different secondary diagnoses? (b) Are parents satisfied with the benefits of each of their children’s medications? (c) Do parents feel the perceived benefits of pharmaceutical treatments supersede any side effects of the treatments? (d) At what ages are parents more likely to use pharmaceutical interventions for their child with ASD (pre-school, elementary school, high school, or older)? Data was gathered through an online survey and distributed through e-mail to parent support networks and through social media. Participants were parents of at least one child with ASD who could use a computer and speak English. Based on the results of this survey, it appears that pharmaceutical treatment for those with ASD often results in adverse side effects and unsatisfied parents. Additionally, those who have found pharmaceutical treatments to be beneficial for their children tend to keep them on the same treatment plan for ten or more years. It was confirmed that while there are few proven treatments for ASD, parents will continue to search for a medication that helps their child uniquely, and are willing to risk the side effects in their search.

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