Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Special Education


In today’s society, Autism has become quite prevalent. New research has indicated that the prevalence of diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has increased (Ouellette-Kuntz, 2007). Research hasn’t yet concluded what specifically causes ASD (Mankoski et al, 2006). However, new theories and information from research indicates that it may derive from genetic reasons (Mankoski et al, 2006). Although scientists haven’t discovered the specific origin of the disorder, research has clearly shown the benefits of therapy in helping children with ASD. Research indicates that children in early childhood education programs and children diagnosed early (pre-verbal or beginning verbal stages) are more likely to have language abilities. As a co-requisite to an early childhood program, many children with Autism are placed in a classroom where the learning environment is tailored to most effectively meet the needs of the child (Hume, Bellini, and Pratt, 2005). Research-based instruction, interaction, and structure are used to engage and teach children. Some of these programs include using guidelines from Applied Behavior Analysis (Prizant, Wetherby, and Rydell, 2000), Greenspan’s DIR/Floortime (Solomon, R.; Necheles, J.; Ferch, C.; Bruckman, D. 2007), Enhanced Milieu Teaching (Hancock, T. and Kaiser, A. 2006), and many others. In this review, the difference in using a Task Oriented Approach (TOA) versus a Process Oriented Approach (POA) will be assessed. Additionally, there will be a look into the origins of the two approaches to further understand the nature of each one. Finally, there will be reviews and dissections of a variety of lesson plans that were based off of the models presented in the Process Oriented Approaches and Task Oriented Approaches.