Date of Conferral







Sreeroopa Sarkar


Professionals have found autism to be an enigmatic condition. While necessary

biomedical research continues, a gap exists in the inclusion of parental opinions,

knowledge, and experiences in educational planning for their autistic children. The

purpose of this mixed methods study was to identify the factors that the parents felt

contributed to the academic success of their autistic child in the public school classroom

environment and ways in which their ideas might contribute to overall educational

planning and classroom design in structure, curriculum development, and intervention

strategies which might lead to reduced stress. Parental input was explored through

semistructured personal interviews with 8 parents and the administration of a 32-question

survey questionnaire to 109 parents of autistic children. A content analysis was done on

the qualitative data, and an analysis of quantitative data reported the frequency and

percentages of the participant responses. Findings from the data revealed multiple areas

in need of improved educational services that include the classroom organization,

educator training and knowledge about the autistic condition, educator support, effective

communication, and behavioral management of the symptoms of autism. The social

change impact from the study's findings have the potential to inform educational

planning, foster collaboration, increase educator participation in autism training methods,

secure necessary funding for evidence based autism educational programs, promote

further research, and provide awareness of existing empirically based approaches

designed to meet the needs of a vulnerable population.