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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We compared two procedures for improving the social interactions of three autistic children. In a peer-initiation condition, confederates were taught to initiate interaction with the autistic children. In a teacher-antecedent condition, teachers prompted the autistic children to initiate with confederates, who had been taught to reciprocate. Using an alternating treatment design, differential effects were found. The peer-initiation procedure reliably increased the social responses of the autistic children, whereas the teacher-antecedent condition increased the initiations and responses of the autistic children. In addition, longer chains of social interaction occurred during the teacher-antecedent condition.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Used Pivotal Response Training (PRT) to teach 7 children with autism to engage in symbolic play behaviors. Symbolic play, complexity of play behavior, and creativity of play were assessed. In addition, generalization measures were obtained across settings, toys, and play partners. Interaction with the play partners and comparison with typical controls were also examined. Results indicated that children with autism rarely exhibited symbolic play before training or after a control condition. After specific symbolic play training using PRT, all of the children learned to perform complex and creative symbolic play actions at levels similar to that of language-matched typical controls. In most cases the children generalized their play to new toys, environments, and play partners and continued to engage in symbolic play behavior after a 3-month follow-up period. In addition, interaction skills improved after training. Treatment implications for these findings are discussed.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 01/1995; 25(2):123-141. DOI:10.1007/BF02178500 · 3.34 Impact Factor
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