Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Kent Seidel, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kathy Green, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Martin Tombari


Autism, Computer-based instruction, Facial emotion, Low-functioning, Multiple baseline, Theory of mind


Autism Symptom Disorder (ASD) is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the United States. This study investigated the development of facial emotion recognition in three individuals aged 4 - 7 years old with Autism Symptom Disorder. It incorporated both objective measures for facial recognition and subjective measures for motivation, time on task, and increased enjoyment of school. A multiple baseline design was utilized which included establishment of the baseline for each of the three students and then a period of intervention and evaluation. It was hypothesized that the use of the DVD, The Transporters, would increase facial recognition, improve motivation, increase time on task, and increase levels of enjoyment of school. The impact of the intervention for correct answers, motivation, time on task, and enjoyment of school were each minimal and resulted in little benefit and improvement for each of these students. The impact of the intervention for correct answers, motivation, and time on task were each minimal and resulted in little benefit and improvement for each of these students. Visual analysis, use of the split-middle trend estimation, and statistical analysis all indicate that there was minimal change resulting from the intervention for Students 1 and 3. The results from Student 2 demonstrated minimal involvement in the Baseline or Intervention Phase activities. Results of paired t-tests all suggest that there were no significant benefits to the students in being able to correctly identify facial emotions, motivation, time on task, or enjoyment from the use of the DVD The Transporters and the computer. Though the software The Transporters was found to be ineffective with the students in the current study, it must be noted that the small sample size does not lend itself to definitive conclusions towards the general population. The results of the current study were contradictory to those of several other studies. There are several possible explanations for the differences. Previous studies focused on older, high-functioning individuals with ASD whereas this one focused on younger,

low-functioning individuals with ASD. This study has identified several notable cautions that should be considered prior to the start of any additional formal research.

Publication Statement

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

Rights Holder

Gary A. Butcher


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

114 p.


Education, Special education