19 Sep NEW STUDY ON INTEGRATED PLAY GROUPS FURTHER VALIDATES THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM
Dr. Pamela Wolfberg and co-investigators Mila DeWitt, Gregory S Young and Thanh Nguyen have published the results of a large-scale study – Integrated Play Groups: Promoting Symbolic Play and Social Engagement with Typical Peers in Children with ASD Across Settings – in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. This investigation was a part of a larger research project at San Francisco State University with the University of California, Berkeley funded by the advocacy organization Autism Speaks. For this study,
48 children (5 to 10 years) with ASD participated in a 12-week Integrated Play Groups intervention in a public after-school program. The IPG model is designed to provide intensive guidance for the children to engage in mutually enjoyed social play experiences in natural settings. The outcomes of this study revealed that the children with ASD made significant progress in symbolic and social play that generalized to free play settings with unfamiliar peers. The compelling results of this study speak to the need to expand efforts to support the inclusion of children with ASD in social play experiences with typical peers in high quality school and community-based IPG programs.