Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Curriculum and Instruction PhD

First Advisor

Larry D. Burton

Second Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Third Advisor

Faith Ann MacGarrell



Statistics indicate that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is on the increase in America and worldwide (Xu, Strathearn, Liu, & Bao, 2018; Baio et al., 2018). Autism spectrum disorder can impair an individual’s ability to engage in neurotypical behavior, which has the potential to increase their vulnerability to being shunned and bullied. This makes autism a major societal concern with significant costs to the individual, their family, private/public health insurance, state financial aid programs, and to the nation. This present study was undertaken to determine, in the opinions of those connected to the case, whether the interventions engaged in this case were effective and to what extent the educational and social interventions practiced in this specific case were responsible for enabling Carter to reach the place where the diagnosticians felt that he no longer met the criteria for receiving services for autism spectrum disorder.


The purpose of this study was to identify social and educational interventions used in Carter's journey with Autism Spectrum Disorder and to document the social and educational interventions employed by several individuals who worked with him. Further, the study sought to describe the impact of these interventions on Carter, from the perspectives of the key individuals involved in the early education of the child. Additionally, the study set out to determine whether these interventions actually enabled Carter to no longer meet the criteria for receiving services for autism spectrum disorder. -- Method The study employed a qualitative case study approach which gathered data mainly through semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Other data sources included Carter’s mother's (Meghan's) account of her experience, key documents, and examples of learning activities found to be of benefit to the child. The nine individuals who were interviewed were invited to participate because they had been directly involved with the case. The data was analyzed using NVivo data analysis.


The results from the analysis of the data study indicate that there was a positive relationship between the interventions reported and Carter's no longer meeting the criteria for services for ASD. The activities reported proved to be too numerous to be mentioned individually and were therefore grouped thematically. The two large groups were the social interventions and the educational interventions. The social interventions group was comprised of activities, such as Gymfants (gymnastics for young children), Children’s Choir, Adventurers Club, and attending regular school which promoted social interactions. These groups facilitated Carter’s working with others, taking directions from others, imitating others, leading, following, and taking turns. Language was key to these interactions. Educational interventions included; reading, attending homeschool, regular school, strategic games such as Connect Four, Uno, and geographical puzzles, floor puzzles; foreign language videos and science videos among other activities. These interventions incorporated language and encouraged Carter in individual work, seated work, pattern identification, and viewing for a purpose among other things. These interventions were planned by Meghan outside of the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) and in addition to Speech Therapy.


As a result of this study, the reader can see that the curriculum developed for Carter by Meghan was directly related to his progress. The study concluded that Carter's family working together to provide the program of interventions contributed greatly to his no longer meeting the criteria to remain in the autism therapy program designed for him by the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) team. It appeared that the intentionality of Carter’s support team had a significant relationship with his progress. It was also concluded that there was a strong relationship between Music as a theme and Carter's progress. The study concluded that the combination of educational and social interventions employed with Carter helped to eliminate the need for him to receive services for autism spectrum disorder. The study showed that intervention in autism requires parental involvement as the delivery of a variety of social and educational interventions through the medium of the home allowed for a natural, meaningful and permanent transfer of knowledge and growth in a number of areas. It is therefore obligatory that the parent/therapist/school partnership be supported and empowered.

Subject Area

Autism--Case studies; Autism spectrum disorders

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.