Thesis Title

Normative Study of Art by Children on Autism Spectrum Age 2-14 Years: A Pilot Study

Graduation Date

Spring 2012

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


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

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Gwen Sanders, MFT, ART-BC


When applying a modified Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale as an assessment for the drawings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there will be distinct patterns found in the art of children with autism as compared to data on a “normal” population. This pilot study asked 18 participants with ASD, age 2 to 14 years old, to complete both a “free drawing” and a “draw a person”. Ten of these participants created strictly scribble drawings and 8 created pictorial drawings which were rated according to the FEATS. Results indicate that children with ASD trend toward lower scores on the level of integration of image and the use of color in the drawings when compared to a provisional normative group.