Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Karen Riley, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Shayna Whitehouse

Third Advisor

Laura Meyer

Fourth Advisor

Rachel Epstein


Autism spectrum disorders, Behavioral phenotypes, Computer-assisted instruction, Math intervention, Time series analysis, Translational research


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), a rapidly growing group of neurodevelopmental disorders, affect nearly all aspects of development. The knowledge base of ASDs has increased significantly over the past half century due to translational research models (Rutter, 1999). Basic science and applied clinical work have informed research in a bi-directional manner. Through these models, much is now known about the language, behavioral, and cognitive difficulties associated with ASDs. However, autism research would benefit from further delineation of the differences between ASD types through the development of behavioral phenotypes. Behavioral phenotypes are expressions of particular aspects of disorders that may aid in further differentiation of subtypes of disorders (Hoddapp & Dykens, 1997).

In particular, little is known about math achievement and math interventions for students with ASDs. Despite federal mandates (IDEIA, 2004; NCLB, 2001) that strive to ensure that students with disabilities are held to the same high academic standards as other students, the research base on math interventions for students with ASDs is inadequate (Minshew, Sweeny, Bauman, & Webb, 2005). ST Math, a computerized, pictorially-based math intervention contains many features that support the strengths of students with ASDs.

To better understand the effect ST Math might have on the math achievement of students with ASDs, 10 students from a private school in Denver, Colorado participated in the ST Math program over the course of one school year. Individual behavioral phenotypes were developed for these students, based on information obtained from Individual Education Plans (IEPs). A combination of comparative and single-case analyses approaches were used to examine the effectiveness of ST Math for students with ASDs. As a whole, students performed better on post-ST Math assessments, compared to pre-ST Math assessments. Three students completed ST Math consistently and regularly, allowing for the use of Concomitant Time Series Analysis to examine the temporal dynamics between time on task and percentage of items answered correctly. Two of the three students showed significant, positive relationships between time on task and percentage of items answered correctly. Commonalities in the behavioral phenotypes of students who successfully participated in ST Math are compared to the behavioral phenotypes of students who did not. Implications for current practice and future research are discussed.

Publication Statement

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

Rights Holder

Erin Slason Grell


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

149 p.


Special education, Educational psychology, Mathematics education