Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Scarlett Choi

Second Advisor

Kelly Elliot

Third Advisor

Suzanne Richards


Autism spectrum disorder, Neurodevelopmental disorders, Trauma, Trauma assessment, Psychoeducation, Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Multidisciplinary treatment, Autism


Patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are particularly vulnerable to traumatic experiences and further development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Underlying traumatic stress is commonly missed and remained untreated in the autism population. In a previous pilot study, Hanson and Richards (2021) gathered providers’ understandings on trauma and autism The current study is a further, systemic content analysis on archival data from Hanson and Richard’s pilot study. Results from the current content analysis of the responses to Question 1 (How do you assess for trauma in your patients?) revealed that providers assess patients’ trauma primarily by interviewing caregiver and patients, as well as by behavioral observations. Responses to Question 2 (What is your definition of trauma?) indicated that some providers define trauma based on the DSM-V-TR PTSD diagnostic criteria. Finally, results about Question 3 (What would you like to learn, if anything, about trauma as it relates to the neurodiverse population?) revealed that providers are interested in learning more about trauma in general and assessment and treatment tools specific for individuals with autism. Conclusions from the current study include that there is a need for provider education on trauma and autism, as well as development of standardized trauma assessment measures and treatments normed on patients diagnosed with autism. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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