All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Fred J Biasini

Advisory Committee Members

Maria Hopkins

Sarah O'Kelley

Martha Wingate

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


The present study examined potential supports and barriers towards an inclusive or ‘autism friendly’ environment from the perspectives of family members of individuals with ASD (n=127) and adults with ASD (n=16). Groups did not differ on endorsement of importance for any of the criterion, except for crowds (p<0.05). The highest ranked quality by Caregivers/Family members were knowledgeable and helpful staff’ (32.5 percent) and attitudes (22.5 percent). The ASD group ranked knowledgeable and helpful staff (30 percent) and crowds (30 percent) as the most important quality. Qualitative data showed that modulated sensory environment, knowledgeable and trained staff’; access to supports, and awareness of locations & as emerging themes for ‘autism friendly’ environments. The present study represents an approach involving research, education and advocacy to provide evidence-based criteria that will be used as a standard for ASA’s Autism Friendly Alabama program. With criteria identified, stakeholders can move forward with completing subsequent goals for the initiative, such as program implementation and evaluation.



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