Jordan Dann

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Special Education

Committee Member

Sarah M. Ginsberg, Ed.D., CCC-SLP

Committee Member

Jackie McGinnis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John M. Palladino, Ph.D.


This qualitative research study described how five speech-language pathologists (SLPs) view the development of self-advocacy in learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The research literature on self-advocacy among the community of individuals with disabilities contained a small collection of studies; little to none of that research regarded learners with autism, specifically, especially within the field of speech-language pathology. Practicing SLPs who have worked with high school students who experience autism were interviewed. It emerged from the study that participants believe there is a need to collaborate with other disciplines and other entities when helping students on the spectrum self-advocate. Other entities included school administration, psychologists, social workers, teachers, the student with ASD, and the student’s peers. It also emerged that SLPs pull influence from various professional literature, and this informs their education. Lastly, various educational targets were identified by the SLPs regarding working with students with ASD.