Art Therapy as a Tool to Increase Independent Peer Interactions in Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Graduation Date

Spring 2014

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

Jennifer Harrison, PsyD, DAAETS, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC


The purpose for this thesis grant proposal is to obtain sufficient funding for a six weeks art therapy program serving children diagnosed with autism. The presented program will operate simultaneously with an ongoing social group run by a private organization which provides therapeutic services to families affected by autism. The program will require integrating art therapy activities specifically designed to promote communication into an existing social group aimed at teaching children with Autism to actively and suitably interact with the world. The group activities will be presented in a controlled environment aimed at fostering contingent situations where verbal communication is necessary to successfully complete the task. The success of the group will be measured by the Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scale. The art therapy activities will offer opportunities for participants to vocalize their needs to one another and require them to generate fitting responses independently.