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Play and development of social skills in children with asperger syndrome

Lucija Polenik (2018) Play and development of social skills in children with asperger syndrome. MSc thesis.

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    Due to the nature of their condition children with Asperger syndrome (AS) need more help and support in developing their social skills and learning in real life situations, through direct learning and playing. In small groups such types of learning are seldom but since development of social skills takes place in a group the program presented in this master’s thesis is specific. In Slovenia there is no evaluation of programs that would focus on special needs of children with Asperger syndrome. Nowadays the importance of a child's social development is becoming more and more acknowledged. One of the ways to develop children’s social skills is through group workshops that enable needed interaction and influence mutual cooperation and communication. Individual work still prevails in Slovenia so the aim of this thesis is to design and implement a program and to evaluate its effects from the aspect of children's and their parents' satisfaction. The program activities focused on children’s playing and their behaviour in a group. The program included three kids with Asperger syndrome aged between 8 and 9. Their condition is characterised by problems in social interaction, a specific scope of interests and by repetitive behaviour patterns. Children with AS also lack empathy, understanding other people's emotions on intuitive basis and communicate differently in comparison to children without the condition. Since children don't develop all forms of playing spontaneously special attention needs to be paid to guiding and learning about different forms of playing. The information about individual children’s behaviours was gained through cooperation with parents. Children were observed by monitoring schemes acquired from foreign research. To form groups for the selected children the following needs to apply: the groups need to enable opportunities for development and improvement of children’s social skills and they need to represent a safe, encouraging, and structured environment. Through monitoring schemes it was observed whether a child was actively included into group playing and activities, their degree of shown interest for group work, their ways of playing in a group and a degree of established interaction in the group. Playing activities were selected according to child's age, interests, needs and individual abilities. The progress was measured on the basis of individual, group response as well as interaction. The 6-month monitoring process showed improvement in cooperation and degree of involvement in activities. Positive aspect was also seen in independent involvement in group playing, and in an increased search for interaction with other children. Also, less unwanted behaviour was observed. The key factor was unguided playing in a playroom the nature and scope of which is different from the one at taking place home or in school. During the workshops the children were able to interact and play together. The workshops had a positive impact on them making arrangements independently, on problem solving as well as accepting and adapting to other people and to the group. There are several fields where no progress was observed. When working in groups the question about the transfer of learned skills to other environments remains.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: autistic disorders, Asperger syndrome (AS), development of social skills, playing
    Number of Pages: 66
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Mojca Lipec StoparMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=12066121)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5178
    Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2018 07:31
    Last Modified: 19 Jul 2018 07:31
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5178

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