Autism is known as a 'spectrum disorder,' because the severity of symptoms ranges from a mild learning and social disability to a severe impairment, with multiple problems and highly unusual behavior. Autism is generally referred to the Triad of Impairment. Since there is less socialization and imagination in these children play behaviour is also disrupted. In play, children expand their understanding of themselves and others, their knowledge of the physical world, and their ability to communicate with peers and adults. Play fosters children's development intellectually, socially, emotionally, physically and creatively. Hence the researcher undertook a study with 20 children with autism, from NEST (Need based Education Service and training) Trichy. It enabled the researcher to understand the presence of pretend play in children with autism and to find out the relationship between eye contact and dimensions of communication with regard to pretend play. Standardized tools were used to study these aspects and analysis was done with the assistance of Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). Findings reveal that all children with autism engage in pretend play at different developmental stages. But the degree varies depending on their age, eye contact, types of communication and the years spent in school. The findings are discussed in relation to the rehabilitation intervention to enhance pretend play behaviour in children with autism.
Prof. Dr. Bilal BİLGİN