Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Education




Lee, Gabrielle

2nd Supervisor

Malkin, Albert


This study explored the experiences and perspectives of autistic adults regarding their experiences with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)-based practices and autism-related research. Using a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative ratings and qualitative exploration, the findings of this study reveal varying opinions and experiences where positive appraisals of ABA-based supports coexisted with voices expressing challenges and concerns. The study highlighted the importance of individualized, neurodiversity-affirming approaches in ABA-based interventions and autism research. Recommendations for best practices emphasized the need for client-centered, compassionate services that prioritize the well-being and autonomy of autistic service users. Furthermore, the significance of including autistic people as co-creators of research, aligning with the broader call for a paradigm shift towards neurodiversity in autism-related studies was highlighted. This research contributes to the growing body of literature advocating for a more inclusive and empowering approach to supporting autistic people.

Summary for Lay Audience

This study looks at how autistic adults feel about their experiences with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)-based supports and the research done about autism. Autistic adults were asked to share their thoughts through a survey that included closed and open-ended response questions. Closed and open-ended responses were then analyzed separately, then together to get a better understanding of autistic adult’s experiences and opinions. Opinions and experiences with ABA-based supports and autism-related research were found to vary. Some participants had positive experiences with ABA-based supports, while others faced challenges. The study suggests that supports should be personalized and supportive of neurodiversity, focusing on each person’s needs. The study also emphasizes the importance of involving autistic people in research to make sure their voices are heard. Overall, this research aims to promote a more inclusive and supportive approach to services and research for autistic people.

Available for download on Tuesday, June 30, 2026