Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Greene, Brandon

Abstract

The current study investigated the effectiveness of interventions designed to increase a child's engagement in sociodramatic play. Griffin, a 4-year-old boy diagnosed with autism, participated in a play group with two typically developing peers and ten sets of play materials pertaining to a specific theme. Baseline sessions indicated that Griffin engaged in lower rates of sociodramatic play and higher rates of isolate and other play compared to the typically developing peers. The Instructions to Peers intervention consisted of giving instructions to the peer participants prior to each play session, and the Structured Sociodramatic Play intervention consisted of the experimenter engaging Griffin and the peers in sociodramatic play with five sets of play materials prior to each play session. A larger play group with four typically developing peers (two of the peers were participants in the first play group) and five sets of play material themes was used to test for generalization. Results indicated that giving instructions to peers did not have an effect on the amount of sociodramatic play Griffin engaged in. The Structured Sociodramatic Play condition increased Griffin's levels of cooperative play to levels similar to the typically developing peers, and increased his sociodramatic play during some sessions. No differences in play occurred in the generalization setting or with untrained play materials in either setting. A discussion of limitations and factors contributing to the ineffectiveness of the interventions is included.

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