Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Geneva Gray


Mothers who have children with a previous Asperger's syndrome diagnosis had to go through a process to maintain or obtain services for their child when the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5) removed the diagnosis. Prior to and since the release of the DSM-5 in 2013, there has been an expression of concern in the literature about how this diagnostic change would affect services for children with a previous Asperger's syndrome diagnosis. Current research has not sufficiently explored the experiences mothers have had with this process. The purpose of this hermeneutical phenomenological study was to explore the experiences of mothers since this diagnostic change. Data were collected and saturation was reached at 6 participants using semistructured interviews. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was used to interpret the experiences of these mothers which produced 3 main themes related to the process of obtaining a new diagnosis, insurance-funded services, and educationally-funded services. The results included both subthemes and superordinate themes that highlighted the need for more stakeholder education, difficulty navigating systems, the need for advocacy, concerns about new diagnoses and loss of services, and the public's perception and the stigma associated with the Asperger's syndrome diagnosis both before and after this diagnostic change. Study results may assist with improving counselors and other stakeholder's knowledge about the importance of the mothers' experiences when there is a diagnostic change of this nature. Also, counselor educators can instill the importance of diagnostic accuracy and supporting all stakeholders when teaching new counselors.