Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author Davies, Catherine Elizabeth URN etd-08062008-104801 Document Title A play technique programme for autistic children in middle childhood Degree PhD Department Social Work and Criminology Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof C S L Delport Supervisor Keywords
- play techniques
- play therapy
- autistic behaviour
Date 2008-04-21 Availability unrestricted Abstract
In this study an attempt was firstly made to theoretically conceptualize autism as a phenomenon in Middle Childhood and the impact thereof on the family, as well as play techniques in the context of autism. The characteristics, behaviour and statistics of autism were looked at as well as the expectations of development of a child (with autism) in middle childhood. The impact of the diagnosis of autism, particularly on the family, was also discussed as well as play techniques in the context of autism. Secondly the researcher focused on exploring the nature of existing play technique programmes on a national and international level.
The focus then was placed on developing a play technique programme for autistic children in middle childhood (between the ages of six and 12 years). This programme was then implemented with 12 autistic children in middle childhood at The Key School for Specialized Education in Parktown West, Johannesburg. Each of the 12 respondents were seen for six sessions, with each session lasting 30 minutes.
The empirical results were then given through evaluating the play technique programme to assess the effectiveness of the play technique programme. Finally the researcher came to conclusions and recommendations, based on the research findings, regarding the effectiveness of the play technique programme for autistic children in order to enhance the impact of the play technique programme.
The broad aim of the study was to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a play technique programme to enhance the social behaviour of autistic children between the ages of six and 12.
The following hypothesis was developed: if autistic children are involved in the play technique programme, then their social behaviour will improve. Consequently, the following sub hypotheses were developed: (1) If autistic children are involved in the play technique programme then their verbal communication skills will improve; (2) If autistic children are involved in a play technique programme then their non-verbal communication skills will improve; (3) If autistic children are involved in a play technique programme then their social interaction skills will improve; (4) If autistic children are involved in a play technique programme then their challenging behaviours will decrease. In the context of applied research, intervention research was the most appropriate type of research for this particular study. This is due to the fact that the researcher aimed to conduct an intervention, namely a play technique programme, which was attempting to impact a particular problem within society, namely the lack of support provided for parents and/or professionals dealing with autistic children in middle childhood.
The research approach used in the study was quantitative. The researcher utilized the one-group pretest-posttest design (i.e. quasi-experimental/associative design). In this particular design there is a measurement (pre-test) of a dependent variable (the autistic children’s social behaviour) when no independent variable (play technique programme) is present. Subsequently the independent variable is introduced, followed by a repeated measurement (posttest) of the dependent variable. The 12 respondents were selected through probability sampling, more specifically stratified and systematic sampling. A self-constructed measuring instrument was used, within structured observation, to evaluate the respondents’ changes in social behaviour, due to exposure to the various play techniques. The specific behaviours focused on included verbal communication, non-verbal communication, social interaction and challenging behaviours.
The findings confirmed that the play technique programme had a highly significant effect on all four areas measured (verbal communication, non-verbal communication, social interaction and challenging behaviour). The respondents (the autistic children) therefore showed a marked improvement in their social behaviour due to being involved in the play technique programme and the conclusion that can be reached is that the play technique programme can be perceived as having had the impact that was hoped for.
© University of Pretoria 2007D465 /gm
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