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Title: The development of play and social communication skills in preschool children with autism spectrum conditions
Author: Allen, Chloe
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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Children with autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) show symptoms related to deficits in imagination, social interaction and communication. These differences have an impact on the development of their play skills. Compared to typically developing children, children with ASCs show repetitive and largely sensorimotor play; more developmentally complex forms of play are less apparent. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that play skills are associated with a wide range of other developmental areas, including social cognitive skills. Consequently play is recognised as both a subject of, and platform for. intervention. The literature review explored a variety of interventions aiming to enhance play skills and identified a need for future research to utilise more rigorous methodologies and explore a broader range of outcomes. The empirical paper aimed to build on previous research by using a randomised controlled trial methodology. to explore the effects of the Identiplay intervention for 14 young children with ASCs. Outcome measures included children's developmental level of play, social level of play and frequency of communication behaviours pre and post intervention and at follow up. Teachers were also asked to rate children's prosocial behaviour and peer problems. The results showed children in the intervention group made significant gains in the developmental level of play over time. Children in the comparison group demonstrated significant improvements in the frequency of their social communication behaviours over time. There was no significant change in levels of social play, prosocial behaviour or peer problems in either group over time. The results were broadly consistent with previous research demonstrating that interventions can enhance the developmental level of children's play. The lack of significant change within the intervention group for social play and social communication behaviours is in contrast to previous research. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psychol.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available