Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Janis Schiefelbein RN, PhD

Second Advisor

Ashleigh Heter DNP, APRN, FNP-C

Third Advisor

Ananda Jayawardhana, PhD


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by delays in social communication and interaction as well as restricted repetitive behaviors, interest, and activities. According to the most recent reports from the CDC (2018), it is estimated that 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with some form of ASD in the United States. Research has shown that early identification and intervention can significantly improve outcomes in those individuals diagnosed. As a result of this research, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended routine screening on all children for ASD at the age of 18 months and again at 24 months using a standardized autism-specific tool.

This descriptive research design examined the autism screening and referral practices of providers in the southeast Kansas counties of Montgomery, Allen, Labette, Cherokee and Crawford using a paper survey. Results of the study show that providers in Southeast Kansas are aware of the AAP guidelines regarding screening and feel that screening every childhood for autism is important. However, these providers are not screening children for autism using an autism specific screening tool nor do they feel confident in screening for autism. Providers in this area had a strong desire to learn more about autism screening guidelines and specific autism screening tools.

Included in

Nursing Commons