Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - NLU Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Kristen Newberry

Second Advisor

Dr. Emese Vitalis

Third Advisor

Dr. Jackson Newberry


The negative implications of trauma have prompted further exploration of diagnosis and treatment in neurotypical youth, though there is a limited understanding of these implications in neurodiverse populations. The purpose of this study was to identify common symptoms in youth exposed to trauma and diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participants were 25 male and female Hispanic and African American patients between the ages of 7–23 years who were receiving primary care at a local medical clinic. Participant information was collected in aggregate from the clinic’s electronic medical record system. A phenomenological approach to data analysis and deductive research organizational framework were used to identify common themes within the consultation notes written about the patients’ medical visits. Findings were unable to produce a distinct clinical presentation of ASD youth with trauma. The limitations of the study include a lack of a control neurotypical group for a direct comparison of symptoms and a lack of available trauma assessment tools for this neurodiverse population. Further research on the assessment and treatment of ASD and trauma is needed to gain a better understanding of this comorbidity.