Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Autism Spectrum Disorder, Parent Satisfaction, Toddlers, Recommendations

Major Advisor

Deborah Fein, Ph.D.

Co-Major Advisor

Marianne Barton, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Rhiannon Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Jeffrey Burke, Ph.D.

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Comprehensive developmental and diagnostic evaluations for toddlers play an important role in identifying toddlers in need of early intervention. They may also provide parents with the support and resources needed to connect with early intervention service systems and providers. Therefore, it is important to develop a better understanding of how parents experience a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, including how different aspects of the evaluation may impact parents’ overall satisfaction as well as their intention to follow recommendations. The current study included 262 toddlers (192 males; 70 females) between the ages of 16 and 39 months (M=24.95, SD=4.64) who were given a comprehensive diagnostic and developmental evaluation after screening positive for autism risk. The parents of 190 of these toddlers responded to the Post-Evaluation Satisfaction Questionnaire (Questionnaire Group). An Exploratory Factor Analysis based on a polychoric correlation matrix was conducted to examine the presence and correlates of factors in the Satisfaction Questionnaire. Five factors (i.e., Collaboration/Checking in, Feedback Quality, Report Quality, Availability, and Cultural Understanding) were derived from the Post-Evaluation Satisfaction Questionnaire. All but the Cultural Understanding factor was positively correlated with overall satisfaction. Although most child characteristics were not correlated with parent satisfaction, a few cognitive and adaptive functioning skills were negatively correlated with Feedback Quality, Report Quality, and overall satisfaction. Analysis of qualitative responses to open ended questions in the Satisfaction Questionnaire provided themes that overlapped across various questions, including the importance of direct, clear, and honest feedback, and dissatisfaction with the wait time for diagnostic reports. These findings suggested ways in which clinicians can better support parents during diagnostic evaluations.