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Children with autism: towards an understanding and description of their play in the naturalistic environments of two inclusive preschool settings

Children with autism: towards an understanding and description of their play in the naturalistic environments of two inclusive preschool settings
Children with autism: towards an understanding and description of their play in the naturalistic environments of two inclusive preschool settings
Play has a mjor role in children's lives and is largely considered a valuable medium for learning and developing cognitve, social,linguistic and emotional skills. Early years settings are contexts where children have the opportunity to learn through play supported by teachers to explore their enviroment and interact with their peers. This is of particular importance for children with autism who may experience difficulties with playing, sharing and engaging with others in playful activities.

The majority of research on play in children with autism has been conducted in clinical settings using quasi-experimental approaches to investigate and categorise forms of play and play deficits and measure intervention effects. In response, this study instead addressed play in naturalistic contexts. An ethnographic case study approach was employed to gain insights and an in-depth understanding of the play opportunities. The study took place in two inclusive preschool settings in the south of England. Data were collected using fieldwork in six week long blocks spanning six months, including video observations and semi-structured interviews with staff and parents. Analysis was supported by Computer Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Software (Atlas ti).

Analysis of the detailed empirical evidence from the two settings showed that the children with autism engaged in all forms of play; collaboration among teachers enabled development of an inclusive playful environment; teachers adopted a variety of roles; and a supportive curriculum framework enabled teachers to be actively involved in children's play and translate their thinking about play and inclusion into practice. Thus the naturalistic approach employed demonstrates how children with autism can be supported by teachers during play activities in real-world settings.
Theodorou, Fani
903dbe31-207a-49b7-9a9d-f447733ec714
Theodorou, Fani
903dbe31-207a-49b7-9a9d-f447733ec714

Theodorou, Fani (2011) Children with autism: towards an understanding and description of their play in the naturalistic environments of two inclusive preschool settings. University of Southampton, Education, Doctoral Thesis, 279pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Play has a mjor role in children's lives and is largely considered a valuable medium for learning and developing cognitve, social,linguistic and emotional skills. Early years settings are contexts where children have the opportunity to learn through play supported by teachers to explore their enviroment and interact with their peers. This is of particular importance for children with autism who may experience difficulties with playing, sharing and engaging with others in playful activities.

The majority of research on play in children with autism has been conducted in clinical settings using quasi-experimental approaches to investigate and categorise forms of play and play deficits and measure intervention effects. In response, this study instead addressed play in naturalistic contexts. An ethnographic case study approach was employed to gain insights and an in-depth understanding of the play opportunities. The study took place in two inclusive preschool settings in the south of England. Data were collected using fieldwork in six week long blocks spanning six months, including video observations and semi-structured interviews with staff and parents. Analysis was supported by Computer Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Software (Atlas ti).

Analysis of the detailed empirical evidence from the two settings showed that the children with autism engaged in all forms of play; collaboration among teachers enabled development of an inclusive playful environment; teachers adopted a variety of roles; and a supportive curriculum framework enabled teachers to be actively involved in children's play and translate their thinking about play and inclusion into practice. Thus the naturalistic approach employed demonstrates how children with autism can be supported by teachers during play activities in real-world settings.

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Published date: March 2011
Organisations: University of Southampton

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 179695
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/179695
PURE UUID: 4185aa82-e955-4853-9500-0719e4cd4fde

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Date deposited: 05 Feb 2016 16:53
Last modified: 10 Dec 2021 19:00

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Contributors

Author: Fani Theodorou

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