Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Patricia Alvarez McHatton, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Allsopp, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arthur Bochner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sylvia Diehl, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeannie Kleinhammer-Tramill, Ph.D.


disability, families, narrative, qualitative research, life-course theory


This qualitative study examines the lived experience of culturally diverse caregivers to children with ASD. The study is situated within the theoretical framework of the life-course theory. Specifically, the impact of the transition of diagnosis on the trajectory of the primary caregiver's life-course is explored. Further, coping mechanisms, caregiver burden/satisfaction, diagnosis, and other components which contribute to the larger construct of lived experience are discussed. Participant stories were obtained through the use of interactive interviewing techniques and transcripts were transformed into a cohesive narrative designed to evoke emotion within the reader while preserving the authenticity of the data. Further, the study contributes to a disability-related discourse which challenges the current deficit model and gives a voice to individuals who may have previously been marginalized based on their cultural and disability-related characterizations.