Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Department Chair

Robert DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Virginia Salzer, PhD

Second Advisor

George McCloskey, PhD

Third Advisor

Rafat Omar, PsyD

Fourth Advisor

Jessica Glass Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D


The purpose of this project is to develop a Guidebook for school systems on how to help students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) feel most safe when they are integrated into and participate in classrooms providing general education. The Sanctuary Model provides a framework that can be applied to school communities to address the unique needs of students diagnosed with autism. As a framework, it can provide these communities with a blueprint of how to encourage participation from students with autism so they too can benefit from learning how to identify not only their feelings but the feelings of others, addressing their unique experiences, explore holistic and effective ways to cope, and build trusting relationships within the classroom.