Teaching play skills to young children with autism

Otterbein University , USA.
Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability (Impact Factor: 1.02). 11/2012; 38(1). DOI: 10.3109/13668250.2012.732220
Source: PubMed


Play is critical for the development of young children and is an important part of their daily routine. However, children with autism often exhibit deficits in play skills and engage in stereotypic behaviour. We reviewed studies to identify effective instructional strategies for teaching play skills to young children with autism.

Empirical studies on teaching play skills to young children with autism published from 1990 to 2011 were located. These studies included single subject and group designs.

Twenty-six studies were reviewed. The majority of studies on teaching play skills used combined interventions. Children with autism improved their play skills, with direct intervention embedding their interests during play. Improvements in play skills increased positive social interactions and decreased inappropriate behaviour as collateral effects.

Further research is needed to develop more effective play skill interventions that assess the functional use of play and are implemented in the natural environment.

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