Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Gloria E. Miller, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Daniel Brisson

Third Advisor

Karin Dittrick-Nathan

Fourth Advisor

Julie Laser


Autism, Central coherence account, Comprehension, Functional underconnectivity, Imagery, Integrative-comprehension


Autism is a debilitating disorder (Yurov et al., 2007) that is diagnosed in 1 in 88 children in America (CDC, 2012). The autism population overwhelmingly performs weakest in reading comprehension as compared to other academic areas (Chiang & Lin, 2007; Minshew, 1994). This identified weaknesses is concerning because comprehension is understood in the literature as the most critical curricular area (Chiang & Lin, 2007). One potential reason for these comprehension problems could be impaired imagery.

Neuropsychology research has found that children with autism cognitively process imagery differently than typical children, due to their unique brain structures (Just, Cherkassky, Keller, & Minshew, 2004). This study sought to uncover whether or not children with autism show weaker abilities on imagery-related comprehension tasks than typical children. However, no instrument exists that is validated for this purpose.

Archived diagnostic data were examined to develop a scale to assess imagery-related comprehension skills. Data were analyzed from 71 children (N=71), with and without autism, aged 5-13. A four phase approach from Benson & Clark (1982) was used to develop the instrument. A multiple regression analytic method was used to see whether or not diagnosis was a significant predictor of scores on the imagery scale. Results were that children with autism scored significantly lower than typically developing children, controlling for the effects of IQ, age, and gender. Implications for practice are discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Marcy Willard


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

177 p.


Quantitative psychology and psychometrics

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