Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Mark Twiest

Second Advisor

Kelli Jo-Kerry Moran

Third Advisor

Daniel Wissinger


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the perceptions of caretakers and parents on their adult child or adult client who has a formal diagnosis of autism. Research has suggested that there is a need for further clarification into the idea of what it is like to not only care for an adult with autism, but further what it is like to take care of an adult with autism, who has experienced a life altering event. A life altering event may or may not consist of the death or loss of a parent or caretaker, changes in his or her living arrangements, or loss of or change in employment. This study explored 6 adult individuals on the spectrum and examined closely what types of life altering events they have experienced. In addition to that, the researcher interviewed sets of parents and caretakers (employees) who shared in detail descriptions what they observed, felt, and went through while caring for the adult individual on the spectrum. The interviews were conducted both in person and over the phone and focused on the lived experiences of the parents and caretakers as they attempted to offer support to adults on the spectrum during challenging times in their lives.