Thesis

Factors Associated with Utilization of Early Intervention Services of Individuals Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Background: 1 in 59 individuals in the United States are diagnosed with ASD, with an average age of diagnosis of 4.7 years across all ethnic groups. Early intervention (EI) services can help improve developmental outcomes for those on the spectrum, when implemented early on. While age of diagnosis is critical for this, no studies have looked at which parent-related and other systemic factors have a direct association with and best predict EI. This study attempts to lay the ground work for further research on Early Intervention and how we can best reduce the gap in service utilization. Methods: In this study, data from 1765 parents of children ever diagnosed with ASD, retrieved from 2011 Survey of Pathways to Diagnosis and Services were analyzed using Pearson Chi-squared Analysis, Spearman Correlation and Binary Logistic Regression to determine factors that best predicted EI. Results: This study found significant differences across the age, parent concern, parent diagnostic experience and insurance domain between those that received EI and those that did not. Conclusion: Age, along with parent concerns in the social/communication domain and secondary conditions best predict EI for this sample. Public health implications and directions for future research are discussed.

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