Spring 2017



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

William D. Keilty

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Kim Latterner

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Sally Blum


The purpose of this research study was to answer the question, in what ways does ABA therapy impact social interactions between the parents and their child with autism? It also addresses past studies which focused on autism, ABA therapy and the family dynamics with a special needs child. The research included one family, with a five-year old child diagnosed with autism. Mixed method research was used, focusing on interviews with parents and data collection. Interviews were conducted with the mother and father which focused on their family’s social interactions before, during and after one year of therapy. Data collection tools were used to document the amount of challenging behaviors and parent therapy hours per month. The findings of this research study show that the more hours of therapy the parents worked with their child per month, the fewer challenging behaviors occurred. This also shows that ABA therapy positively impacts social interactions amongst the family, primarily by decreasing challenging behaviors.

Research Methodology

Action Research, Descriptive Statistics, Interview


Parent Involvement, Special Education, Autism, ABA therapy