Date of Conferral





Human Services


Gregory Hickman


AbstractCurrently, there is little known about the parent experiences of transitioning their child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to adulthood from a qualitative perspective. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore parents’ lived experiences as their ASD children transition to adulthood. This study was grounded in symbolic interactionism, which includes tenets of how interactions with others provide a catalyst for meaning development and subsequent human action. A phenomenological design was used with a purposeful sample of 10 parents of children with ASD transitioning to adulthood. Interviews were conducted through phone calls to explore participant perspectives transitioning their child with ASD to adulthood. Thematic analysis was applied to the data by coding, categorizing, and building themes from the parent information. Results indicated that parents experienced negative outcomes during pre transitioning and post transitioning, reporting that their child transitioning to adulthood did not have access to transition planning and preparation, that employment and postsecondary school supports were limited, and that their child continued to be dependent on the parents for all their needs. The knowledge gained informed professional practice in the needed areas of adult ASD transitioning. Affecting positive social change for parents of young adults with ASD is meaningful to improve outcomes for adults with ASD. This study provided a foundation for future research in this specialized area of life transitions.