skip to content

Click here to search our resources

PEDAL Hub: Resource Library

Hobson, J. et al. (2015) Symbolizing as interpersonally grounded shifts in meaning: social play in children with and without autism (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The aim of this study was to examine the relation between symbolic play and communicative engagement among children with and without autism. Our predictions were firstly, that in moment-by-moment interactions during semi-structured interactive play with an adult, children with and without autism would tend to show shifts in meanings in symbolic play when engaged in coordinated states of joint engagement (events involving 'sharing-of-meaning'); secondly, that across atypically developing participants, sharing-of-meaning would (a) correlate with scores on a standardized test of pretend play, and (b) be inversely correlated with scores on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule; and finally, that participants with autism would contrast with matched developmentally delayed participants in manifesting lower levels of joint engagement, lower levels of symbolic play, and fewer shifts in symbolic meaning. Each of these predictions was borne out. The intimate developmental relation between social engagement and symbolic play appears to be important for explaining the developmental psychopathology of autism.

Date:
January 2015
Volume:
45
Page/s:
42-52
Synonyms:
  • Atypical development
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Language
  • Pretend play
  • Social cognition
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
  • Symbolic play
Research discipline:

Kasari, C. et al. (2008) Language outcome in autism: randomized comparison of joint attention and play interventions (Journal Article)

Zyga, O. et al. (2015) Assessment of Pretend Play in Prader-Willi Syndrome: A Direct Comparison to Autism Spectrum Disorder (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Children with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) are at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including pervasive social deficits. While play impairments in ASD are well documented, play abilities in PWS have not been evaluated. Fourteen children with PWS and ten children with ASD were administered the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) (Lord et al. in Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule manual. Western Psychological Services, Los Angeles, 2006) as part of a larger project. A modified Affect in Play Scale (APS; Russ in Play in child development and psychotherapy: toward empirically supported practice. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, Mahwah, 2004; Pretend play in childhood: foundation of adult creativity. APA Books, Washington, 2014) was used to score ADOS play activities. Results indicate both groups scored below normative data on measures of imagination, organization, and affective expression during individual play. In addition, the inclusion of a play partner in both groups increased all scaled scores on the APS. These findings suggest children with PWS show impaired pretend play abilities similar to ASD. Further research is warranted and should focus on constructing and validating programs aimed at improving symbolic and functional play abilities within these populations.

Date:
January 2015
Volume:
45
Page/s:
975-987
Synonyms:
  • Atypical development
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Play assessment
  • Pretend play
  • Social cognition
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
  • Solitary play
  • Symbolic play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: