Thesis Title

Effects of art on emotional perception for those with ASD

Graduation Date

Fall 2016

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


John Lemmon, PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Harrison, PsyD, ATR-BC, DAAETS

Second Reader

Marina Vasserman, MA BCBA, PRT, RDI, DTT


This research examined the ability of art making interventions to increase emotional perception for children on the Autism spectrum. The outcome of the study demonstrated that components of the ability to identify emotion improved as a result of art making. Although the anticipated changes did not prove to be statistically significant in all parameters of the research; the response time for each emotion did show a statistically significant decrease as well as overall change in participants’ accuracy. However, when comparing Childhood Autism Spectrum Test scores to test results did not change significantly. The decrease in response time and increase in accuracy supports improvement in the ability to identify emotions. This research generates further inquiry into the benefits of utilizing art therapy to improve the lives of those on the autism spectrum.