Symbolic Play in School-Aged Minimally Verbal Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Few interventions exist for school-aged minimally verbal children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Even though play skills are associated with children’s production of language, few studies have focused on play for minimally verbal children. Fifty-eight minimally verbal children with ASD received a naturalistic developmental behavioral intervention. Children were randomized to receive a speech generating device in the context of the intervention or not. Children in both conditions improved in play skills at exit. Children demonstrated an increase in play skills in proximal (sessions) and distal (during blind assessment) contexts. Minimally verbal children with ASD can improve their play skills within a targeted intervention. Increases in symbolic play were associated with increases in expressive language skills.
KeywordsMinimally verbal Autism Play Language JASPER
We would like to thank the families and children who participated in this study and the team of interventionists, coders, transcribers, and data analysts at the 3 sites: Kelly Goods, Stephanie Patterson, Kathryne Krueger, Charlotte Mucchetti, Dalia Kabab, Caitlin McCracken, Julia Kim, Alison Holbrook, Abbey Hye, Kelsey Johnson from UCLA; Stephanie Jordan, Courtney Wright, Blair Burnette, and Ann Simonson from Vanderbilt University; Philip Menard, Emily Watkins, Kerry Buechler, Christine Hess, Sarah Gardner, and Melissa Subbock from Kennedy Krieger Institute. This study was funded by Autism Speaks #5666, Characterizing Cognition in Nonverbal Individuals with Autism, an initiative begun by Ms. Portia Iverson and Cure Autism Now. Grant support was also provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) R01HD073975-02 (C.K., A.K.) and R01HD073975-03 (C.K., R.L.).
This study was funded by Autism Speaks #5666, Characterizing Cognition in Nonverbal Individuals with Autism, an initiative begun by Ms. Portia Iverson and Cure Autism Now. Grant support was also provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) R01HD073975-02 (C.K., A.K.) and R01HD073975-03 (C.K., R.L.).
YC conceptualized and drafted the manuscript. WS conducted the analyses for the study. CK is the principal investigator of the intervention trial and assisted in the drafting of the manuscript. AK and RL are co-investigators of the intervention trial.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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