Does explaining Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to typically-developing children have an effect on play interactions between a child with ASD and his typically-developing peers within a community after-school club?
Moore, Bethan Louise
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This project investigated the effects of a 30-minute ‘autism awareness workshop’ on play interactions between a 7-year-old child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and his typically-developing peers within a community after-school club. Data regarding play cues and returns (based on Sturrock & Else’s (1998) framework) were gathered from observations of free-play sessions across a three-week timescale. A test-intervention-retest design was used. Three hour-long play sessions were recorded: one before the workshop and two following. The data were then analysed qualitatively. The results showed that the intervention explaining ASD to typically- developing peers did not result in a difference to the play interactions between typically- developing children and their peer with ASD. This concurs with Swaim and Morgan’s (2001) study in which explanatory information given about ASD did not affect children’s attitudes and behavioural intentions towards a child displaying autistic behaviours seen on video. Additional findings suggest that the workshop prompted at least one of the participants to enquire further about ASD to staff. The results also highlighted the influence of context on the play interactions. This study adds to the literature as it looks at actual play behaviours between typically- developing peers and a child with ASD and takes place within a community setting. A number of avenues for further research are indicated, including into the roles of play scheme staff in promoting better inclusion for children with ASD into community after-school clubs through informal information-giving, provision of contextual support and facilitating play initiation with children with ASD.
B.Sc. (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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