Imaginative Play

Topics: Autism, Developmental psychology, Child development Pages: 4 (1388 words) Published: August 30, 2013
“I would like to play but I don’t know how; a single case study”

Genene S. Reynolds

Specialization in Child and Adolescent Development

Child Psychology


3231 Shannon Rd. Apt. 32-D

Durham, NC 27707

Telephone: 252-673-0435


Instructor: Dr. Mark Cooper

In order to complete this assignment the learner was given the task of using a case study as it relates to early and middle childhood development. The article “I would like to play but I don’t know how: a case study of pretend play in autism”, by Lucille Hess was chosen. Pretend play of children diagnosed with autism lacks the ability to substitute objects for real props (for instance being able to use a block as a telephone). There is also a lack of separation of play from the real event and being able to share the development of that action with another person. Hess hypothesizes that in order to understand the lack of pretend development is focused on the child’s inability of awareness of the need for reciprocity, to be aware of other’s interpretation of that particular action, and more importantly the inability to use one’s imagination. Piaget’s preoperational stage spans from ages 2 to 7 years old. Children who are diagnosed as autistic lack the cognitive ability to participate in make believe play.

Berk (2008) notates those children who successfully maneuver through the preoperational stage become able to detach play from real life conditions. Play becomes less centered; children are able to detach themselves from play, for example making a doll feed themselves, children realize that recipients of pretend actions can be independent of themselves. By the end of early childhood children have developed a sophisticated understanding of role relationships and story lines (Berk, 2008 p.323).

Vygotsky believed that play was a method to develop symbolic representation and understanding, starting with scaffolding of combined efforts of...

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