Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Koel-Turner, Charlene


The purpose of this study is to conduct a thorough examination of the current literature related to the background, benefit and implementation of play in teaching social skills to children with autism spectrum disorders. The ability to demonstrate joint attention, demonstrate join attention and participate in functional and pretend play continues to show a correlation with children’s language, cognitive and social skills. Functional and symbolic play provide children an opportunity to practice new vocabulary, experiment with scenarios they have observed, and have social interaction. Children with autism spectrum disorders do not develop these skills easily and naturally as their typically-developing peers do and they require specific intervention in order to acquire these skills. A number of interventions are currently being used by therapists and special education teachers in and out of the classroom to improve social and play skills.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis