Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP
Daniel H. Ingram, Psy.D., Chairperson
Diane Smallwood, Psy.D.
Susan Giancola, Ph.D.
The main purpose of this research was to survey Pennsylvania school psychologists regarding their training, knowledge and evaluation practices when assessing and diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). A 65 question electronic survey focusing on four areas: A) training, B) knowledge, C) current practice and D) demographic information, was distributed to 908 certified school psychologists in Pennsylvania and completed by 243 respondents. Results found that school psychologists in Pennsylvania play a key role with assessment and diagnosis of ASD, yet have limited formal training in important aspects of ASD. Doctoral level school psychologists and school psychologists with the greatest number of years of experience reported feeling better prepared with ASD issues than did non-doctoral and less experienced school psychologists. The majority of respondents reported that they were not yet familiar with the 2007 Pennsylvania Autism Expert Workgroup Report and indicated that they fail to follow some of the best practice guidelines when assessing and diagnosing ASD. Pennsylvania school psychologists demonstrated very basic general knowledge of ASD, but measuring knowledge among a highly educated group proved problematic in this research. An example of a service delivery model that utilizes best practice standards for assessing and diagnosing ASD is also presented, along with implications for the field of school psychology.
Pearson, Loren M., "A Survey of Pennsylvania School Psychologists' Training, Knowledge and Evaluation Practice for Assessing and Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders" (2008). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 112.