Play and Imagination in Children with Autism, 2nd Edition / Edition 2

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This now classic text remains a cornerstone of continued efforts to develop inclusive peer play programs for children on the autism spectrum. This second edition has been thoroughly revised to reflect the significant new developments that have transpired in the field of autism. Notable additions to the text include an updated description of the Integrated Play Groups (IPG) model and related research; an examination of the nature of autism and play from past to present, with major updates on incidence, diagnosis, and characteristics; and a comprehensive review of play interventions.

Presenting ethnographic case portraits of three children with autism over a 10-year period (from age 5 to age 16), Play and Imagination in Children with Autism:

Traces the development of the children as they overcome obstacles to enter into the "play culture" of their peers.

Focuses on 2 critical years during which the children participated in a peer play intervention.

Documents the emergence of remarkable transformations in the children's social relations with peers and symbolic activity.

Includes vignettes, dialogue, and samples of writing and drawing that bring the children's stories to life.

Lays out implications for new directions in research and practice.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
The author has spent her professional career exploring the potential of play to promote the development and adjustment of children and youth with autism spectrum disorders. This second edition of her book provides updated overviews of the theory and research on the crucial and universal role of play in normal child development and of the current state of knowledge about autism. She contrasts the development of play and imagination in normal children with that in children diagnosed with autism. The majority of this book is an ethnographic longitudinal study of three children she worked with over the course of their elementary and middle school years. Wolfberg documents an approach she developed, the Integrated Play Groups Model, which provides minimal structuring for play groups composed of two "novice" (children with autism) and three "expert" (children recruited from the general education classes) players in twice weekly meetings. Her detailed observations make clear the improvements that each target child makes in functional and imaginative play as a result of these experiences. Black-and-white drawings and color plates of artwork illustrate these changes as well. The "expert" players are critical to the success of this approach since only they can truly engage in play as a peer to the "novice" players; Wolfberg believes that, even with training, most adults are inclined to be overly directive in their interactions rather than fostering and inviting imagination. Perhaps equally important are her findings of improved acceptance of and communication with the children with autism spectrum disorders by the normally developing children. As the author points out, with the rate of autismapproaching one out of every 150 children, the need for greater understanding and support is critical. "Perhaps play is the ultimate context for social inclusion, since it sanctions variation and allows for multiple perspectives" (p. 173, paperback edition). This extensively referenced and well-indexed book is written for and would be a good addition to the personal libraries of professionals working with this group of children. Parents who are seeking more in-depth understanding of their children's developmental challenges may also find this offers useful strategies for fostering socialization skills. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807749418
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press
  • Publication date: 4/23/2009
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
Pt. I Perspectives on Autism and Play
2 The Nature of Autism 13
3 The Nature of Play 23
4 Play in Childhood Development 33
5 Play in Practice 44
Pt. II Passage to Play Culture: Ethnographic Case Portraits
6 Uncharted Territory 55
7 Beginning to Explore 64
8 Entering Play 83
9 Guided Participation 98
10 Embracing Play 111
11 An Unending Journey 136
12 Conclusion: Implications for Theory and Practice 148
App: Research Methods 163
References 173
Index 185
About the Author 193
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