Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Special Education

Committee Chair

Daniel E Hursh

Committee Co-Chair

Reagan Curtis

Committee Member

Malayna Bernstein

Committee Member

Elizabeth Juckett

Committee Member

Samuel Stack


In my dissertation effort I suggested new directions in order to significantly advance Autism Research. I moved from identification of the problem (Stagnation of Autism Research) to offering one possible explanation for the problem (Conceptualization of Autism as a Complex Phenomenon) to one possible solution for the problem. I developed the Dynamic Evaluation Model which is a five dimensional evaluation system to (a) effectively evaluate Autism interventions, (b) uncover Autism symptoms dynamics, and (c) identify what child with what symptoms characteristics will benefit the most from what currently available treatments. And finally I tested the prototype of the Dynamic Evaluation Model on evaluation of the Competent Learner Model at The Vista School. Results suggest that the Competent Learner Model is effective in developing in School Community, Play and Leisure, Coping, Social Interaction, Autism Index, Expressive Communication, and Auditory Comprehension in children with Autism. The Competent Learner Model might be an optimal fit for children with Autism who (a) have need to decrease Stereotyped Behavior and (b) are manifesting severe intensity of Stereotyped behavior.