Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Steven J. Henderson

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas Gollery

Third Advisor

Dr. John Taylor


The purpose of the study was to explore the perspectives of parents of children diagnosed with ASD regarding the inclusive supports and services provided by their congregations. Identifying supports and services that are deemed helpful by the parents of ASD children may assist faith communities in developing programs and ministries that address the unique needs of these families. The quantitative study utilized a survey research method to address eight research questions. At two sites in Florida, parents of children diagnosed with ASD were invited to complete a survey assessing the helpfulness of nine inclusive supports. Additionally, the availability of these services, as well as the influence on the parent’s commitment level to the place of worship providing the supports, was evaluated. The nine inclusive supports identified in the survey were found to be helpful to parents of ASD children at a significant level. More specifically, the study’s participants perceived the helpfulness of a family resource center as the most important support. Additionally, parents who perceived the church as implementing helpful inclusive support services reported a higher level of an overall commitment to that church. Implications of the study include strategies for including ASD families in congregations and providing opportunities for spiritual growth.