Zari Morales

Major and Classification

Health and Humanity

Faculty Mentor

Catherine Crowley, OTD, OTR/L, Department of Occupational Science & Therapy


Dornsife: Interdisciplinary

Research Gateway Project

“Fostering Creative Minds: How Educational Settings Support Creativity in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders”

Project Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that are characterized by lack of social communication or interest and repetitive behaviors, are more prevalent with each passing year. As of 2014, 1 in 68 children across the United States are diagnosed with ASD. As a result of the growing number of children, I sought out to find which methods teachers implement in the classroom with children with ASD that promote their development and creativity, particularly classrooms in the Los Angeles area. I analyzed nine articles on ASD, available interventions, and creativity to acquire information. I surveyed and interviewed four teachers that work or have worked with children with ASD through the phone or in locations most convenient to them. Three major themes arose from the interviews, including the importance of routine and structure, exposure to different children and stimuli, and the difference between every child diagnosed with ASD. In my findings, I discovered that learning the school routine took much more precedence than engaging in creative activities. More research in the future, with a larger sample, is required to determine if this is the case with all classrooms and what can be done to incorporate creativity in the classroom.