Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lisa Armistead

Second Advisor

Diana L. Robins

Third Advisor

Lauren Adamson

Fourth Advisor

Akihiko Masuda

Fifth Advisor

Kim Ramsey-White


Early detection facilitates early intervention (EI), which optimizes outcomes in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental delays. However, facilitating the transition between receiving a diagnosis of ASD and other delays and accessing care has received little attention. When families first receive a diagnosis, they often experience grief, confusion, heightened stress, and difficulty accessing appropriate and affordable services, further increasing the disadvantages and disparity experienced by underrepresented populations. This feasibility study will focus on ways providers can better facilitate access to EI services for families following an initial diagnosis. Forty-nine diverse parents with children (16-32 m) diagnosed with ASD and other developmental delays were recruited from a larger screening study. During feedback, all families were provided with a provider list (treatment as usual) of therapeutic services. Half of the families were randomly assigned to receive a DVD/ Youtube Link (treatment plus video) that describes the diagnosis as well as common therapeutic options for children with developmental delays. Parents were asked questions regarding their use of materials (video vs. provider list) following feedback and their ability to access EI services. Study retention, demand and satisfaction were assessed to evaluate the use of video recommendations and the provider list. Demand, satisfaction and completion rates were assessed to evaluate the use of video recommendations as a feasible intervention following diagnosis. Additionally, differences in post measures of parental sense of competence, parental stress and access to the EI system were used to assess the potential efficacy of the intervention. Seventy- five percent of parents (across both treatment groups) used the provider list, whereas only 29% of parents who were randomized to the video condition reported that they viewed the video recommendations. Qualitative reactions from parents in the current investigation suggest a need for interdisciplinary care and coordination between mothers. Challenges to delivering a brief intervention following diagnosis are explored.