Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Kelvin Ramirez


This literature review is an analysis of the literature exploring the use of expressive arts modalities with children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), with a focus on emotional regulation and behavior modification. Historically, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has been the standard in terms of behavior modification for this population, but current research and qualitative inquiries suggested that members of this population need more support in emotional regulation and communication than ABA is able to provide. Using an intermodal arts-based method developmentally promotes social and communication abilities in children with ASD. Further, channeling stereotypic behaviors into creative flow can regulate, communicate, and increase self-worth. As evidenced by studies incorporating the healing and occupational benefits of each modality, this capstone thesis organized and chronicled the developmental aspects of each modality, as well as their own interrelatedness. This was done by framing the work under the Expressive Therapies Continuum and exploring the healing properties of creativity. By allowing individuals living with ASD to create their own form of communication using multiple artistic modalities, it is believed that maladaptive behaviors could decrease, due to a child’s own realization that they are better understood. This could lead to better emotional regulation, efficacy in communication, and stronger socialization. The framework could also benefit clinicians in developing more concise and client-centered treatment plans, that meet both the client’s needs as well as the freedom to incorporate the client’s personal interests.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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