Date of Conferral







Brandon Cosley


Questions remain about the range of abilities autistic children possess and what constitutes effective treatment. Strength-based intervention contrasts with traditional autistic intervention approaches that focus on children's deficits. Studies on strength-based intervention approaches have not revealed how children's strengths are identified and have not used the insights of parents for this purpose. Neurodiversity serves as the conceptual framework because the tenets of neurodiversity align with those of strength-based approaches and hold that autism is a variation of the human condition rather than a disability. The purpose of this qualitative interpretive phenomenological study was to explore how the parent-identified strengths of autistic children may act as the basis for the advancement of strength-based intervention. The research questions focused on identifying the strengths of autistic children through semistructured interviews with 15 parents of high-functioning autistic children, who were recruited using purposive sampling. Data were analyzed using a three-level method, and six themes emerged: Routine, Caring for Others, Relationship with Parent, Intervention in School, Therapy, and Outlook for the Future. Practical implications for community psychology include development of strength-based approaches based on altruism, parent-child relationships, and positive outlooks for the future. Further research is recommended on caring for others and displaying affection in relation to strength-related constructs, such as resiliency and growth. Effective strength-based interventions may help autistic children develop based on their strengths, leading to positive social change.