Autism has become the topic of much recent debate. Autism is a serious, lifelong developmental disability characterized by significant impairments in reciprocal social interactions and communication skills, as well as a restricted and repetitive pattern of interests and or behaviors (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Minimal information is available about the prevalence or causes of the disorder in the United States. The purpose of this descriptive study was to find and identify common variables among a select group of children diagnosed with autism. Roger's Science of Unitary Human Beings served as the theoretical framework for this study. Rogers (1980) states that the relationship between the human field and the environmental field is one of constant mutual interaction and mutual change. Since children with autism seem to lack this ability to interact, it was appropriate to utilize this framework to explore ways to maximize environmental interaction with the goal of mutual change. The following research question directed the research: What are the common identifiable variables among a select group of children with autism? The sample {N = S) consisted of the caregivers of autistic children from a southeastern state pediatric clinic who gave consent to participate in the study. Data were collected using a researcher-designed tool, the Yarbrough Autism Survey. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, including frequencies and percentages. No significant common variables were identified among the sample and may be related to the small sample size. Data obtained in this research provide a wealth of information applicable to nursing practice, education, and research. Utilizing this information will provide health care professionals with appropriate recommendations and interventions. Based on the findings of this study, a larger scale study should be done to determine common variables.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Linda Sullivan

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Patricia Curtis

Third Advisor

Dr. Patricia Smyth

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons