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Francis, G. et al. (2019) Do Tangible User Interfaces promote social behaviour during free play? A comparison of autistic and typically-developing children playing with passive and digital construction toys (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Background
Little is known about the extent to which embodied digital mediation may support social engagement between children with or without autism (ASD) in free play settings. This study draws on Affordance theory and Constructionism to investigate social play behaviours associated with use of a Tangible User Interface (TUI) during free play.
Method
The study used a detailed observational and descriptive design. Two groups of children with ASD and two groups of typically developing (TD) children were filmed during a 20-minute play session with either a passive toy, or a digital toy with a TUI. Behaviours were coded according to a scheme based on Parten’s Play States. Data were described in terms of duration, frequency and the likelihood of transition to another state, given the current state.
Results
For TD children, Parallel and Associative were the most frequently observed Play States across both conditions. For those with ASD, Parallel Play and Non-Play-Related Conversation were the most frequent states in the passive condition, while Parallel and Associative Play were the most common in the TUI condition. This group demonstrated a longer duration of co-operative play with the TUI toy compared to TD children. Both groups showed higher frequencies of social play in the TUI condition.
Conclusions
Social play states can be effectively mediated by TUIs for both TD and ASD groups. For the ASD group, repetitive behaviour with a TUI may not be inhibitory to social engagement. Practitioners may consider making TUI enabled toys available during free play opportunities.

Date:
January 2019
Volume:
58
Page/s:
68-82
Synonyms:
  • Cooperative play
  • Free play
  • Social play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Gibson, J. et al. (2017) A Systematic Review of Research into the Impact of Loose Parts Play on Children’s Cognitive, Social and Emotional Development (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Loose parts play (LPP) interventions introduce moveable materials and equipment to children’s play spaces to facilitate unstructured, child-led play. Meta-analysis of previous school-based research has shown significant benefits of LPP for physical activity. In the current paper, we review the scope and quality of the quantitative evidence relating to cognitive, social and emotional outcomes. We conducted a systematic search of the literature on LPP interventions for primary school-aged children which used quantitative outcome indicators for cognitive, social and/or emotional development. Studies were screened for inclusion by two independent researchers and reviewed for content, relevant outcomes and quality indicators. Five studies met the review inclusion criteria. Two studies used a randomised controlled trial design, two studies used quasi-experimental design, and one used an observational design. Outcomes measured focused mainly on social development. With the exception of enjoyment, school satisfaction and self-esteem, emotional outcomes were almost entirely absent. No measures of cognitive or academic outcomes were found. For the studies using control groups, few differences between groups were reported, although one study found increased happiness at school and increased odds of reporting being pushed/shoved at playtime associated with intervention. Null results were found for peer acceptance, relational bullying, social competence, social skills, peer group size and psychosocial quality of life. In the non-controlled study, there were observed increases in co-operative play. There is insufficient high-quality, quantitative, empirical evidence available to determine whether or not LPP interventions have an impact on children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. We conclude our review with some recommendations which we hope will assist future research in this promising field.

Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
9
Page/s:
295-309
Keyword/s:
Synonyms:
  • Social-emotional

Valentino, K. et al. (2011) Mother-child play and maltreatment: a longitudinal analysis of emerging social behavior from infancy to toddlerhood (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Mother-child play of maltreating and nonmaltreating families was analyzed when infants were 12 months old (Time 1), and 2 years old (Time 2), as a context to examine children's developing cognitive and social skills. At Time 1, infants from abusing families demonstrated less independent and more imitative behavior during play than did infants from neglecting and nonmaltreating families, suggesting a delay in emerging social behaviors. In this longitudinal follow-up, mother-child play was reassessed 1 year later (N = 78), with a focus on children's engagement in nonplay and pretend play and on children's abilities to initiate social exchanges and respond to parental requests. Play and social behavior were coded from semistructured and unstructured play paradigms at both time points. Maternal attention-directing behavior and limit setting also was assessed. At Time 2, children from abusing, neglecting, and nonmaltreating families did not differ in cognitive play complexity. However, children from abusing families engaged in less child-initiated play than did children from neglecting and nonmaltreating families, demonstrating less socially competent behavior. Longitudinal analyses revealed child initiated play at Time 2 was negatively associated with abuse and with maternal physical attention directing behavior at Time 1. Child negative reactivity at Time 2 was positively associated with Time 1 maternal physical behavior and child imitation and with Time 2 maternal controlling behavior. Implications for early intervention efforts are emphasized.

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
47
Page/s:
1280-1294
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Longitudinal
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Play with Mother
  • Pretend play
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

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: