Facilitating play, peer engagement and social functioning in a peer group of young autistic children: Comparing highly structured and more flexible behavioral approaches

Kristin Strauss, Marco Esposito, Giorgia Polidori, Stefano Vicari, Giovanni Valeri, Leonardo Fava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the differential effect of a highly structured adult-directed behavioral treatment condition and a more flexible child-oriented blending of behavioral and developmental treatment strategies in a clinical group setting with autistic children. The children with autism following the more flexible child-oriented treatment condition engaged significantly more in higher-order play activities allowing for peer proximity and demonstrated better social functioning during activities with other autistic peers. A relation of child-oriented teaching utilizing less intrusive prompting to more developmentally appropriate play as well as social functioning was found. The findings suggest that child-oriented play and social skill interventions in the clinical context, although being applied in a group of autistic children, may facilitate social functioning and engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-423
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Engagement
  • Play
  • Social functioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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