Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Visual and Performing Arts

First Advisor

Zhen Yu Qian

Committee Chair

Zhen Yu Qian

Committee Member 1

Steve Visser

Committee Member 2

Carla B. Zoltowski


This paper explains my journey of exploration into the development of a mobile application for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) based on researching an area of instructional need. The direction spread to creating a tool to encourage collaboration between designers and educators to generate more mobile application educational opportunities for children with ASD. These two paths of development of touch screen mobile computer (TSMC) applications are explored in this paper. The first path of application development, based on a researched instructional need into improving the comprehension skills of children with ASD by teaching the emergent literacy skill of vocabulary with labels, is shown with the development of Literacy Labels. The second path is to develop an application based on a direct instructional approach that is being used with children with ASD that would benefit from automation in a mobile application. For this second path, the creation of the Definition Outline for Collaboration (DOC) is detailed. This path is for teachers, clinicians, therapists, parents, and/or those in the research community to document a possible design idea as a catalyst for collaboration with the design community. The most effective application design for children with autism must start with an understanding of the user's unique instructional needs and both of these paths start with this strong foundation.