Drawing Process in Children with Autism

Drawing AutismDrawing Process in Children with Autism

The Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy published an open source article to determine the correlations between the drawing process in children with autism and developmental indexes.  The authors consider drawing to be one of the best tools to objectify the level of maturity reached by the child in psychomotor, cognitive and emotional areas.  The participants in this study included 84 children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), between the 2.58 and 15.00 years old.  Each individual completed a drawing exercise which was evaluated by an expert team of professionals to determine the drawing stage after establishing a scale ranging from the presence of the disordered scribbling to the presence of the body schema.  Different parameters were observed including: the attitude of the child, how that activity was accepted, eye contact during the action, use of color, prehension of the instrument, presence of interaction with the examiner during the activity, duration of the drawing and the attentive level, use of the space in the sheet, form and the order of the elements that constitute the drawing, line, shape, proportion and erasures and finally the child’s posture while drawing.  These parameters were used to create a 5 point scale:

Level 0. Refusal to draw or absence of productions.
Level 1. Disordered, random scribbling (age range 2 to 3.6 years)
Level 2. Controlled scribbling (age range 2 to 3.6 years)
Level 3. Named scribbling, with meaning attribution (age range 2 to 3.6 years old)
Level 4. Preschematic (Age range 3.7-5, 6 years)
Level 5. Schematic (age range 7-8 years)

The results indicated the following:

  • the drawing level improved with the increase of the age of children
  • the drawing level improved with the increase of Autism diagnostic observation schedule, second edition (ADOS)  in particular with the improve of the Social Affections
  • there was no correlation between drawing and restricted, repetitive behaviors
  • the drawing scores had a higher correlation with IQ scores than with ADOS scores

The researchers concluded that there is a close relationship of drawing with the level of autistic symptomatology. Children who are part of an autism spectrum disorder have a significant delay in the drawing process, and this delay is not related to the IQ, but rather to the Social Affection area investigated by the ADOS.

You can read the full-text article here.

Reference:  Di Renzo, M., Marini, C., Bianchi di Castelbianco, F., Racinaro, L., & Rea, M. (2017). Correlations between the Drawing Process in Autistic Children and Developmental Indexes. J Psychol Psychother7(291), 2161-0487.

Looking for drawing resources:


Bugs and Butterflies

Arctic Animals

Holiday Edition





Doodle Diaries

Drawing Autism