Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 830–845

Integrated Play Groups: Promoting Symbolic Play and Social Engagement with Typical Peers in Children with ASD Across Settings

  • Pamela Wolfberg
  • Mila DeWitt
  • Gregory S. Young
  • Thanh Nguyen
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-014-2245-0

Cite this article as:
Wolfberg, P., DeWitt, M., Young, G.S. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2015) 45: 830. doi:10.1007/s10803-014-2245-0


Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) face pervasive challenges in symbolic and social play development. The Integrated Play Groups (IPG) model provides intensive guidance for children with ASD to participate with typical peers in mutually engaging experiences in natural settings. This study examined the effects of a 12-week IPG intervention on the symbolic and social play of 48 children with ASD using a repeated measures design. The findings revealed significant gains in symbolic and social play that generalized to unsupported play with unfamiliar peers. Consistent with prior studies, the outcomes provide robust and compelling evidence that further validate the efficacy of the IPG model. Theoretical and practical implications for maximizing children’s developmental potential and social inclusion in play are discussed.


Play Social Symbolic Peers Inclusion Sociocultural 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela Wolfberg
    • 1
  • Mila DeWitt
    • 2
  • Gregory S. Young
    • 3
  • Thanh Nguyen
    • 4
  1. 1.Autism Spectrum Studies, Department of Special Education and Communication DisordersSan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Trumpet Behavioral HealthPleasantonUSA
  3. 3.MIND Institute, UC Davis Medical CenterUniversity of CaliforniaSacramentoUSA
  4. 4.Clinical Psychology (PhD) ProgramUniversity of MassachusettsBostonUSA

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