Symbolic Play in School-Aged Minimally Verbal Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Ya Chih Chang, Wendy Shih, Rebecca Landa, Ann Kaiser, Connie Kasari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Few interventions exist for school-aged minimally verbal children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Even though play skills are associated with children’s production of language, few studies have focused on play for minimally verbal children. Fifty-eight minimally verbal children with ASD received a naturalistic developmental behavioral intervention. Children were randomized to receive a speech generating device in the context of the intervention or not. Children in both conditions improved in play skills at exit. Children demonstrated an increase in play skills in proximal (sessions) and distal (during blind assessment) contexts. Minimally verbal children with ASD can improve their play skills within a targeted intervention. Increases in symbolic play were associated with increases in expressive language skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1436-1445
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Autism
  • Language
  • Minimally verbal
  • Play

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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