Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Effectiveness of Instruction Performed through Computer- Assisted Activity Schedules on On-Schedule and Role-Play Skills of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Effectiveness of Instruction Performed through Computer- Assisted Activity Schedules on On-Schedule and Role-Play Skills of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Article excerpt

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurobiological and complex developmental disability (Haney, 2013; Kircaali-Iftar, 2012). According to the DSM IV-TR guidelines published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) (2000), which were widely used in the diagnosis of ASD until recently, ASD becomes visible through (a) problems with social interaction, (b) communication problems, and (c) limited and repeated interests and behaviors. The communication problems specified in these guidelines are a delay in language development, difficulty in having a conversation, atypical or repetitive language, and play that is inappropriate to the developmental level. Problems such as incapability in imaginative and symbolic play and indifference toward social play stand out as demonstrating play skills that are inappropriate to the developmental level. Social interaction and communication problems are examined together in the DSM-5 guidelines published in 2013, after DSM IV-TR. According to DSM-5, ASD manifests itself via (a) widespread and persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts and (b) restricted and repetitive patterns in behavior, interests, or activities (APA, 2013; Kircaali-Iftar, 2012). In DSM-5, problems such as difficulties in sharing imaginative play and making friends and the absence of interest in peers are emphasized among social communication and social interaction deficits, and it is stated that individuals with ASD lack abilities in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships (APA, 2013). Thus, when both sets of guidelines are examined, it is understood that deficits in play skills have an important role in the diagnosis of ASD.

Play is a means that ensures that children interact and obtain new information on their environment by using various facets of their present accumulation of knowledge, gaining experience and supporting their identity development, cooperation skills, and creativity (Barton & Wolery, 2008; Lifter, Foster- Sanda, Arzamarski, Briesch, & McClure, 2011; Morrison, Sainato, Benchaan, & Endo, 2002; Naber et al., 2008). Play contributes significantly to the cognitive, social, emotional, linguistic, and physical development of children (Lifter et al., 2011; Phillips & Beavan, 2012). In children who show typical development, the playing skill emerges on its own, with limited adult assistance and modeling, and has the quality of being a natural reinforcer (Lovaas, 2003). The development of play skills in children with ASD differs significantly from that of their peers in terms of participating in play activities and peer interaction (Liber, Frea, & Symon, 2008). Children with ASD tend to occupy themselves with part of an object for a period of time, and their interaction with the item often cannot be regarded as play because the object is not used in line with its purpose (e.g., removing a toy car's wheels and spinning them around, shaking part of a toy with a hand) (Naber et al., 2008; Rutherford, Young, Hepburn, & Rogers, 2007). Here, it seems that the play of children with ASD, who are limited, ritualized, and removed from social interaction, cannot go beyond stereotypic behaviors (Lovaas, 2003). Furthermore, their avoidance of social interaction with peers who show typical development in preference for being alone and their deficits in the skills needed for playing games constitute the basis for these children being alienated by their peers (Wolfberg, 1999).

Role-plays are among the games played by children showing typical development. This type of play emerges at approximately 18 months and becomes more complex as different fields of development, such as cognitive, social, and linguistic development, are strengthened (Barton & Wolery, 2008). Children showing typical development initially play simple games such as feeding the baby and parking the car in the garage, but later, they play more complex forms of these games by adding symbolic elements. …

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