Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. William Charland

Second Advisor

Dr. Christina Chin

Third Advisor

Dr. Katherine LaLonde


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), token system, classroom management, special needs students secondary art classroom, behavior management

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Special needs students in the secondary art classroom can be difficult to reach. Students with special needs are required by law to be provided with a fair and appropriate education. The challenge for art educators is to adequately meet the needs of all students in the classroom. This paper examines a brief history of education for students with special needs, behavior management in the classroom, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, the token system, and the value of a structured classroom environment. ABA therapy techniques in the secondary art classroom provide a tool in the classroom management aspect of providing structure and intrinsic motivation to engage students including those with special needs. ABA therapy builds on success for students and uses repetition to help build confidence. As a way of facilitating art success among special needs students, I have designed a semester-long art curriculum that incorporates ABA for the secondary art classroom, specifically the token system.