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Use of lag schedules to increase play variability across settings for a young child with Autism.

Play is important, contributing to the development of many key areas including cognitive, physical, sensory, social, and emotional well-being. Play in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is found to be impaired. Individuals with ASD commonly display delays across a range of play skills, do not develop more complex play skills and show lower levels of variability during play. Limited play variability and repetitive play behaviours result in many negative outcomes. These negative outcomes include decreased exposure to learning opportunities, language and social interactions, as well as decreased access to reinforcement. It has therefore been suggested that the negative outcomes associated with limited play variability may contribute to the cognitive, language and social deficits seen in individuals with ASD. This study investigated the use of lag schedules of reinforcement to increase the play variability seen in a 7-year-old boy with ASD. Intervention of lag 1, lag 2 and lag 3 schedules were used across three different settings: a music table, ball and playdoh play set. Results showed increases in play variability across all three settings. Limited maintenance data collected showed that increases in play seen in intervention phases remained in maintenance relative to baseline. Generalization was also seen to occur for all three settings with increases in play variability occurring in similar toys to those used in the experimental phase. These findings show support for the use of lag schedules as a method to increase play variability in individuals with ASD.
Type of thesis
Tutty, E. (2021). Use of lag schedules to increase play variability across settings for a young child with Autism. (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14395
The University of Waikato
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