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Pretend play in autism relation to language and cognition

Paper i proceeding
Författare Karin Strid
Tomas Tjus
Mikael Heimann
Publicerad i European Society for Developmental Psychology, 21-25 August, Jena, Germany
Publiceringsår 2007
Publicerad vid Psykologiska institutionen
Språk en
Ämnesord Pretend play, language development, cognitive development, autism
Ämneskategorier Psykologi

Sammanfattning

The present study investigates pretend play in a group of children with autism, commonly reported as restricted in autism, and its relation to language and cognition compared to a group with typical development. Twenty children with autism spectrum disorder (DSM-IV) participated (chronological age = 5:7 years, language age = 2:6 years and mental age = 3:9 years) matched on language and mental age to a group of typically developing children (N= 23). The frequency of the child’s spontaneous pretend play was measured in an eight-minute parent-child free play observation. Eleven children with autism (55%) did not show any pretend play during the observation and had a lower language age compared to the nine children with autism that actually displayed some pretend play (t = -3.03, p < .01) but the two groups did not differ on mental age (t = -1.18, ns). In the group of children with typical development, six children showed no pretend play. This group had a non-significant lower language age compared to the seventeen children that displayed pretend play, but the two groups differed on mental age (t = -2.20, p < .05). Almost half of the children with autism in this study engaged in spontaneous pretend play showing that pretend play is not absent in autism. The results further suggest that language level, but not mental level, is related to the child’s engagement in pretend play for children with autism, while mental level had a stronger relation to pretend play for the typically developing children.

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