Autism, visual schedules, ipads


Visual Activity Schedules (VAS) are tools that present an abstract concept, such as time, in a more concrete and manageable form. VAS allow students to anticipate upcoming events and activities, develop an understanding of time, and facilitate the ability to predict change. Prior investigations have used VAS to increase on-task behavior while enhancing the student's ability to independently make transitions from one activity to another and are particularly appropriate as they capitalize on the visual strengths exhibited by many students with autism. Mobile devices such as the iPad are becoming a tool for teaching students with disabilities, and research is currently underway to determine the effectiveness of specific applications on student performance. This research examined the impact of VAS delivered via the iPad, compared to a paper-based VAS, on the percentage of on-task behavior and median transition time for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during academic center activities in an inclusive classroom setting. An alternating-treatment, single-subject research design was used to determine whether a divergence exists between the paper-based VAS and the iPad VAS. This study included three student participants who (a) had a diagnosis of ASD as stated on the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), (b) were in grade level K-1, (c) received instruction through Language Arts activity centers taught within one classroom, and (d) had difficulty with independent on-task behavior as reported by the participant's teacher. Visual analysis of the data for on-task behavior revealed mixed results. Student 1 had a divergence between on-task behavior, with the paper-based VAS being a superior treatment condition to the iPad VAS 80% of the time. Student 2 also had a divergence between percentage of on-task behavior, with the iPad VAS being a superior treatment condition to the paper-based VAS 80% of the time. Student 3 had no clear divergence in percentage of on-task behavior between the iPad VAS and the paper-based VAS. All three participants had highly variable baseline and intervention data for transition time with a level stability range of 20% to 60%. Student 1 and Student 3 had no clear difference in transition time when comparing the paper-based VAS to the iPad VAS. Student 2 had a divergence in transition time data between the iPad VAS and the paper-based VAS, with the paper-based VAS being a superior treatment condition 90% of the time.


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Graduation Date





Martin, Suzanne


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program

Education; Exceptional Education








Release Date

August 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Education and Human Performance; Education and Human Performance -- Dissertations, Academic