Dissertation Information for Mirah J. Dow
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Toward a technology of behavioral support for individuals with autism: An ideal information system
Abstract: This study examines services to individuals with autism from the perspective of information systems. This case study investigated two exemplary sites in the Midwest where individuals with autism live in their home communities. Data were collected over a 5-month period in seven locations. Participants were 18 key people whose roles with 16 individuals with autism included parents (6), educators (7) and related service providers (2), and administrators (3). Responses from semistructured interviews, observation and questionnaires contained 1299 distinct items of information that formed 65 total categories and six unique elements of effective information systems. Theoretical elements emphasizing the social processes of the sociology of information, behavioral processes of the psychology of information, and organization-managerial processes of information were used to guide the investigation of the actual information systems. Elements of effective information systems included a combination of humans resources and environmental resources: people and published resources, multidisciplinary-collaborative problem-solving, extended family v. professional model of interactions, informational and experiential content, multiple formats of information, and shared environments. A kaleidoscopic model of an information system was extrapolated from the results with implications for future research and practices of educators, social service providers, and information professionals.
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