The Relationship between Imitation Types and Play Complexity and Vocabulary in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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CitationAcarlar, F., Akcamus, MCO., & Alak, G. (2018). The Relationship between Imitation Types and Play Complexity and Vocabulary in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ANKARA UNIVERSITESI EGITIM BILIMLERI FAKULTESI OZEL EGITIM DERGISI-ANKARA UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION, 19, 4, 747-775.
In children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), challenges in imitation and symbolic play skills and life-long impairments in verbal language development are observed. Research studies have shown interrelations between challenges in imitation, symbolic play, and language. This study investigates the relationships between imitation types and vocabulary and play complexity. A total of 108 children with ASD ages from 3.0 to 8.0 years, including children in the preverbal period (n = 58) and children with verbal language skills (n = 50), participated in the study. The imitation skills and symbolic play complexity of the children were evaluated using the observation-based procedures prevalently encountered in the relevant literature. Vocabulary of the children was determined by obtaining language samples during conversations. The results showed that there were significant differences between the preverbal and verbal language groups in all imitation types; structured imitation with objects significantly predicted play complexity in the preverbal group; structured imitation with objects and spontaneous imitation significantly predicted play complexity and vocabulary in the verbal language group. The results of the study indicated that different types of imitation skills had an important role in the development of the language and complex play skills of children with ASD.