Authors: Boutot AE, Guenther T, Crozier S
Title: Let’s Play: Teaching Play Skills to Young Children with Autism
Source: Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities 2005 40(3): 285-292
Year: 2005
Research Design: Single Case Design

Watch any young child and you will likely see him or her engaged in some form of play. Play is an integral part of early childhood development in which typically developing children learn social and language skills, as well as appropriate behaviors, problem solving, and a variety of other cognitive skills. By its very definition, autism is a disorder in which play is impaired or lacking, thus, many children with autism do not experience the natural benefits of play, as do their typical peers. Children with autism must be specifically taught to engage in social and play activities, and often require direct instruction to learn to play with others. Instruction in play skills is noted in the literature as important for young children with autism, yet little evidence suggests which of several teaching methods is most effective. This article describes several aspects of play, discusses various means of teaching play skills to children with autism, and makes suggestions for future research. Further, a case study comparing the efficacy of two methods for play skills instruction is presented.

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