Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Learning, Leadership and Change

First Advisor

Fred Estes

First Committee Member

Anna Epperson

Second Committee Member

Rod Githens

Third Committee Member

Linda Webster


American Indian or Alaska Native children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at later ages than Non-Hispanic White children. Other than being included in prevalence studies, in the last thirty years, there has been less than a handful of studies that have looked specifically at Autism Spectrum Disorder within the AI/AN community. No studies looked at the assessment experience of parents. This exploratory study used Indigenous Storytelling Methodology to hear an AI/AN parent’s initial developmental concerns about their child and their experience with the Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis process. The system of assessment created a frustrating experience, and the parent believed the child made eye contact, but found out later that there was really a lack of sustained eye contact. This research creates a base to start looking at Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms to use for better outreach in the community and informs Tribal Health Clinics and Early Childhood Programs to better help guide parents through the Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment process.



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