Symbolic Play

Table of Contents
Introduction................................................................................................................................................1 Prerequisites..........................................................................................................................................1 License and disclaimer..........................................................................................................................1 What is symbolic play................................................................................................................................2 Play and autism..........................................................................................................................................3 Symbolic play basics..................................................................................................................................4 Play sequences.......................................................................................................................................4 The importance of play symbols...........................................................................................................4 Components of play symbols................................................................................................................4 Kinds of symbols...................................................................................................................................5 The importance of likeness....................................................................................................................5 Difference between play symbols and likeness.....................................................................................6 Degree of obviousness...........................................................................................................................7 Teaching symbolic play.............................................................................................................................8 Teaching likeness..................................................................................................................................9 Training likeness...............................................................................................................................9 Probing likeness................................................................................................................................9 Teaching symbols................................................................................................................................10 Choosing symbolic prototypes to teach..........................................................................................10 Choosing symbolic forms to teach.................................................................................................10 Choosing symbolic likeness...........................................................................................................10 A teaching protocol.........................................................................................................................11 How-To guidelines.........................................................................................................................12 Teaching symbolization......................................................................................................................13 Probing the existence of symbolization..........................................................................................13 Teaching play sequences.....................................................................................................................14 Creating symbolic play scenarios...................................................................................................14 Enhancing non-symbolic play scenarios........................................................................................15 Demonstrating how to play.............................................................................................................16 Using scripts and script fading...................................................................................................16 Fading adult presence.....................................................................................................................17 Choosing what to play....................................................................................................................17 Teaching imaginative play..................................................................................................................18 Probing the existence of imaginative play......................................................................................18 Development of symbolic play................................................................................................................19 Stage I: 9-10 months............................................................................................................................23 Game 1: where did mama go?........................................................................................................23 Game 2: stretch for that..................................................................................................................23 Stage II: 13-17 months........................................................................................................................24 Game 1: plastic boxes.....................................................................................................................24 Game 2: the pool.............................................................................................................................24 Game 3: imitations..........................................................................................................................24 Game 4: wall drawing and painting................................................................................................24 Game 5: lost toy..............................................................................................................................25 Game 6: candy in prison.................................................................................................................25 Game 7: what's the match?.............................................................................................................25

Game 8: the tour of the house.........................................................................................................25 Game 9: the tunnel..........................................................................................................................25 Game 10: self portrait.....................................................................................................................25 Game 11: obstacle race...................................................................................................................25 Game 12: puzzle.............................................................................................................................26 Game 13: sorting.............................................................................................................................26 Game 14: the professional taster.....................................................................................................26 Game 15: the balance......................................................................................................................26 Game 16: trainman.........................................................................................................................26 Game 17: opening and closing items..............................................................................................26 Stage III: 17-19 months.......................................................................................................................27 Game 1: reachin' without stretchin'................................................................................................27 Game 2: going fishing....................................................................................................................27 Game 3: box with wonders.............................................................................................................27 Game 4: burning boat.....................................................................................................................27 Game 5: run to color.......................................................................................................................28 Game 6: go after sound...................................................................................................................28 Game 7: the robot...........................................................................................................................28 Game 8: weave the paper................................................................................................................28 Stage IV: 19-22 months.......................................................................................................................29 Game 1: follow the color................................................................................................................29 Game 2: monsters in the dark.........................................................................................................29 Game 3: treasure hunt.....................................................................................................................29 Game 4: mystery object..................................................................................................................29 Game 5: hard and soft.....................................................................................................................30 Game 6: smooth and rough.............................................................................................................30 Stage V: 24 months.............................................................................................................................31 Game 1: repeating patterns.............................................................................................................31 Game 2: imaginary finger drawing.................................................................................................31 Game 3: mystery drawing...............................................................................................................31 Game 4: mystery sound..................................................................................................................31 Game 5: set the table.......................................................................................................................32 Stage VI: 2 ½ years.............................................................................................................................33 Game 1: find the emotion...............................................................................................................33 Game 2: the prompter.....................................................................................................................33 Quality of symbolic play..........................................................................................................................34 Symbolic play observation sheet.........................................................................................................34 Symbolic play observation summarizer..............................................................................................36 Interpreting results...............................................................................................................................37 Building a symbolic play repertoire.........................................................................................................39 Building a repertoire of symbols.........................................................................................................39 Building a repertoire of play scripts....................................................................................................40 Planning symbolic play training..............................................................................................................41 Preliminary stage.................................................................................................................................41 Stage I..................................................................................................................................................41 Stage II................................................................................................................................................41 Stage III...............................................................................................................................................42 Stage IV...............................................................................................................................................42 Stage V................................................................................................................................................42

Stage VI...............................................................................................................................................43 Stage VII..............................................................................................................................................43 Stage VIII............................................................................................................................................43 Stage IX...............................................................................................................................................44 Stage X................................................................................................................................................44 Summary..................................................................................................................................................45

Symbolic Play

Introduction
Play in general and symbolic play in special have an important role child development. It is theorized there is a strong liaison between play and socialization (see [Raising The Child (ro)]), symbolic play and language (see [Behavioral Intervention]), play and learning by imitation (see [Lovaas 2003]), as well as between sensory abilities (which best develop through play) and speech (see [Verbal Behavior Analysis]). Children with autism and related disorders have difficulty with playing and with finding joy in play. When they do play though, they favor repetitive play within a narrow niche, up to the point that their play seems inappropriate (see [Lovaas 2003], chapter Early Play Skills). This document aims to address the issue of teaching children with autism how to play, with a focus on symbolic play.

Prerequisites
It is highly recommended to have access to the following books (see Bibliography at the end) : [Autism and Play], [Behavioral Intervention], [Caring For Your Young Child], [Teach Me Do It], [Raising The Child (ro)], [VB-MAPP] and [ABLLS-R]. This document occasionally employs terms from the Verbal Behavior theory of language. Having some knowledge on Verbal Behavior is recommended. An accessible resource to learn about verbal behavior is [The VB Approach]. The liaison between senses and speech is mentioned by [Verbal Behavior Analysis]. The guidelines for adult supervision fading have been extracted from [Portage Guide (ro)]. This document has been designed with a focus on children with autism or related disorders. The latest incarnation of the seminal work of Dr. Lovaas on intensive intervention for young children with autism is [Lovaas 2003]. Having this resource at hand is highly recommended. We suggest scripting and script fading as a possible method to teach symbolic play since it has been successfully used to teach conversation. Hence, having access to [Teaching Conversation] is recommended. The structural assessment of the quality of play has been partially inspired from our multi-dimensional model of LRFFC training which is detailed in LRFFC.pdf. For information on how to obtain this document, see the bottom of the page. The intent of this document is to get integrated into a verbal behavior therapy. A way to design such a therapy is to download and read our VBA package1. It is strongly recommended not to use the present document in isolation.

License and disclaimer
You are free to read, use, store and copy for personal use this document at no cost. You may not distribute the document or parts of it to anyone without explicit permission from the author. You may freely disseminate information on how to obtain a copy of this document. The information in this document has not been reviewed by any specialist in Verbal Behavior, language pathology, behaviorism or psychology. You may use the information herein AS IS, with no warranty expressed or implied. The author of this document makes no claim of suitability of this information for any purpose and no damage or loss resulted from the usage of this information may be imputed to him. Any collision of name, terms, titles or meaning with trademarked elements or works protected by copyright is purely incidental and may not be interpreted as trademark or copyright infringement in any way.
1 One can find the links to the package and other files by checking the blog at http://mariusfilip.blogspot.com, section FILES.

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In this case the playground is endowed with symbolic meaning as well and his play is even richer in symbolism (rock = enemy. then perhaps he's just launched a counter-attack against the “enemy”. the child starts to run towards the rock yelling “Aaaaa!” while throwing pebbles intensely. playground = battlefield). While it is easy to assume this simple activity as purposeless. The example above illustrates that the amount of symbolism of a play session can be measured. generally accepted meaning. 3. If the child says “I hit you” and shouts “kaboom!”. 6. 2. probably he imagines himself throwing grenades towards the rock. Most likely the rock becomes in his mind some character that deserves to be hit. The same source defines symbolism as “a system of symbols and symbolic representations”. 5. If the child says “I won't let you pass through!” and shouts “kaboom!” then probably he imagines himself to be a grenadier in battle. pebble = grenade. -2- . pebble = grenade. at least by counting the number of symbols used. let us assume that a lone child throws pebbles in the direction of a larger rock which lays a few yards away. We can talk about a small amount of symbolism in this kind of play (rock = character). We define symbolic play as that kind of play which carries a certain amount of symbolism with it. perhaps he “talks” to the rock. This kind of play carries more symbolism (rock = character to hit. albeit non imaginative. self = grenadier. For example. If the pebbles fall aimlessly around the rock. The words amount of symbolism in this definition bear importance because we believe that play symbolism is measurable. this kind of play may have various meanings: 1. If. perhaps the child tries to target the rock on purpose. If most pebbles fall close to the rock and many of them actually do hit the rock. pebble = grenade). If the child says something like “I hit you”. self = grenadier). a symbol is “something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible”. this activity is probably no play at all but rather a selfstimulatory behavior so characteristic to children with autism. 2 One can download a free copy of WordWeb electronic dictionary from http://wordweb. This is very akin to the actions that typical children do repetitively in order to hone a motor skill (like climbing and going down the stairs over and over again). after some “fight”. 4. We may assume the activity is play.info/free/. This kind of play carries more symbolism (rock = enemy.Symbolic Play What is symbolic play According to the WordWeb electronic dictionary2. This implies that the child engages in certain behaviors whose meaning to him is different from their common.

past interactions and experiences are not formative in this respect. no different from the ones of typical children. Experience suggests that children with autism aren't essentially different: they can find enjoyment in things characteristic to typical children. Yet. in their essence. On the contrary. Either case. • Joy of play.Symbolic Play Play and autism As shown in [Lovaas 2003]. In fact. when a child with autism plays with the hair of a doll. she's playing “mama” while the doll is “the child”. one can reasonably assume that the initial resistance to tennis came from ignorance rather than from an innate incapacity to enjoy tennis. the behavioral intervention for autism relies on the fact that autistic children love rewards just as their typically developed peers do. Yet. Concerning the joy to play. This seems to happen even when the movements of a play activity and the symbolic meanings of those movements have been given explicitly to them. many programs of ABA (from Block Imitation to Arts and Crafts) can be seen as ways to teach the child how to make appropriate usage of objects. he does not learn how to find joy in play. While very young children limit themselves to exploring physically the surroundings. including play. Either the dislike of physical effort goes away or tennis becomes more rewarding than the physical discomfort. Just as the autistic child does not learn from the environment how to talk. it's very unlikely that the desire is more than sensory in nature. Lovaas gives a suggestive illustration. children beyond a certain age start to assign some symbolism even to simplest forms of play. For example. • • -3- . they might turn the truck upside down and spin the wheel over and over. In fact. It seems that autistic children have difficulty to find joy in play. Children with autism are capable of joy in play. children with autism lack three characteristics that typical children have and make them spontaneously engage in play: • Appropriate usage of surrounding objects. Fortunately enough. A man may resist to learning how to play tennis for reasons like hating to perform physical effort. once they are taught how to experience those things and the teaching is conducted in an appropriate way. • Symbolism attached to objects and actions. Children with autism do not seem to readily understand that the wheels of a truck exist to roll over ground. absorbed in the movement without trying to explore other usages of the toy. It is no wonder: due to the pervasive impairments induced by autism. the three characteristics from above can be learned through systematic intervention: • Children with autism can learn the appropriate usage of objects and toys when the information is given in a way appropriate to their learning style. We believe that addressing the problem of symbolic play in children with autism requires addressing the three issues from above. The deep motivations of autistic children are. Ivaar O. the same man may find joy in tennis once he learns how to play it. a 3 year old girl who brushes the hair of a doll does not do it merely to see what happens to the hair when brushed. especially when loaded with symbolism. If a child with autism can learn abstractions like classes and associations. Most likely. he can learn that a pebble can be a grenade and a large rock can be an enemy tank. We also believe that children with autism can make tremendous advances in their development by the mere of resolution of the above mentioned deficiencies. even if symbolism is in the smallest amount. Children with autism are capable of attaching symbols to elements they can observe.

The symbolic prototype is what the child has in mind when playing. Components of play symbols A play symbol has three components: 1. Symbols need to be addressed specifically and in isolation before thinking about symbolic play. Being at the crux of symbolic play. the key ingredient to teaching symbolic play is to ensure that the student is able to handle symbols in the first place. at some point in the development of a child. Play sequences As mentioned in the Westby Scale of Symbolic Play (see [Behavioral Intervention]). There is no symbolic play without symbols. actions or characters that the child represents through play. -4- . whose meaning is entirely apparent from its very constituents may be useful. the ability to create and maneuver symbols is of paramount importance. 2. A symbolic play sequence may employ non-symbolic elements. 3. the wooden stick is the symbolic form. Therefore. Such real likeness is a commonality of properties between the two (see “The importance of likeness” below). Besides those common properties. The symbolic likeness resides upon a real likeness between the symbolic form and the prototype. It consists in objects. The importance of play symbols As mentioned in section “What is symbolic play” (page 2). Such ability most likely does not emerge simply by engaging the student in play. play grows in complexity and evolves from isolated actions to longer and more complex sequences of actions. Based on the components of symbolic play. hence it must be taught explicitly. the symbolic content and the complexity of the symbolic sequences grow with age. The symbolic likeness is the relationship between the symbolic form and the symbolic prototype. i. A play with no symbols whatsoever.e. The symbolic form is what an external observer can see. In other words. Children with autism or related disorders do not manifest this growth.Symbolic Play Symbolic play basics This chapter describes what symbolic play is made of. the sword is the symbolic form. that visible represents something else that is different yet similar in some way. healthy and beneficial to the child but is not symbolic. there are others that are part of the symbolic likeness but not of the real likeness (see “Difference between play symbols and likeness” at page 6). It consists in the objects or actions used by the child in play. Moreover. the next chapter suggests methods to teach it. But it must include at least one symbol in order to be symbolic. a symbol is “something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible”. When a child is “fighting” with a “sword” represented by a wooden stick. When a child is “fighting” with a “sword” represented by a wooden stick.

The importance of likeness By definition. When teaching symbols. When a little girl combs the hair of a doll pretending to comb the hair of “her child”. but “the child” is not. but the “driving” is not. They may learn the signs. depending on the name of the item represented. Static symbols refer to objects. When a little boy sits on the driver's sit and “drives” the family car in the garage. 3 Symbolic sign conventions are too difficult concepts for young children to understand. He pretended to be a grenadier because he threw “grenades” by hand. When a child “drives” a car then his “driving” is a dynamic symbol.Symbolic Play Kinds of symbols A symbol may be static or dynamic. Dynamic symbols may be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic dynamic symbols refer to those symbolic actions whose symbolism is independent of the symbolism of the objects employed. are concepts harder to grasp than objects. Dynamic symbols refer to actions. These distinctions are important because we believe they bear different levels of difficulty: • • • Static symbols are the easiest to grasp because their symbolism relies on the object likeness between the symbol and the prototype (see “Components of play symbols” at page 4). His playground was wide and flat like the battlefields he probably saw in movies. like real grenadiers do. -5- . He shouted “kaboom!” that sounds like exploding grenades. Intrinsic dynamic symbols are the hardest because actions. it results that a symbol in children's play is “something visible that by association represents something else that is invisible”. let us revisit our little grenadier from page 2 and think a little about his symbolic play: • • • • The pebbles turned into grenades because pebbles are small like the grenades. Extrinsic dynamic symbols are easier than the intrinsic ones because the symbol is virtually identical to the prototype and only the used object differs from its prototype. but they cannot fully grasp the prototypes behind them. When a child fights with a stick saying it is a sword. To illustrate this. “How-To guidelines” at page 12). We call this association symbolic likeness because it does reside on likeness of some sort. she is doing extrinsic dynamic symbolism: combing is real. by their dynamic nature. Assuming that conventions do not apply to young children3. is important to keep in mind the above order and to plan the teaching steps accordingly (see “Teaching symbols”. he is doing intrinsic dynamic symbolism: the car is real. Extrinsic dynamic symbols refer to those symbolic actions whose symbolism reside in the symbolism of the objects employed. the stick is a static symbol. a symbol is “something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible” (see page 2).

he endows the symbolic form with attributes of the prototype that the form does not have at all. It is this ability of children to construct made-up worlds that adorns their play with unparalleled originality and beauty. Therefore. Why? Because aluminum foil is like Christmas tree decorations and not like grenades. the artificial tree may be like a Christmas tree and not like a tank and the corner of the room may be like a part of his living room at home and not like a battlefield. Thus the child creates during symbolic play a “virtual reality” of his own with many made-up attributes. Yet. a child does more than identifying a likeness. this “reality” is rooted in the objective reality via the likeness between its elements and their prototypes. in order to ensure that the student has symbolic likeness we must ensure that he is able to detect likeness in the first place. this is their likeness. Difference between play symbols and likeness Although play symbols rely on likeness. he shouts “kaboom!” pretending that the pebble “explodes”. For example. Despite its “virtuality”. This ability of the pebble to “explode” exists in the child's mind only and does not belong to the physical likeness between a pebble and a grenade. In other words. legs. when constructing a symbol during play. -6- . there are significant differences between the two: • • likeness is a closeness between two entities along a few characteristics. when he plays this way. a child can throw pebbles pretending he throws grenades.Symbolic Play If our little friend have had pieces of aluminum foil instead of pebbles. For example. an artificial tree instead of a big rock and a room corner indoors instead of an open playground then most likely he would have tried to “decorate” a “Christmas tree” instead of fighting heavily with the enemy. Because they are alike. This essential difference between play symbols and likeness is so important that the ability to create “virtual realities” of play symbols has to be trained explicitly (see “Teaching likeness” at page 9). a pebble is small like a grenade. neck. etc. a play symbol is a correlation in which one participant (the symbolic form) takes some of the characteristics of the other participant (the symbolic prototype) that fall outside their visible likeness. a duck is like a goose because they have many similarities in shape: body.

the more imaginative the play his play may be. -7- . Needless to say. The symbolic form differs from the prototype only in terms of “my child”. If she uses no comb whatsoever but pretends to have a comb in her hand.Symbolic Play Degree of obviousness The same symbolic prototype may be represented by more than one symbolic form. Choosing one form over another depends on the degree of granularity you want to assign to obviousness monitoring. If she replaces the doll with a rolled towel. the symbolism is less obvious. Some of the symbolic forms represent more obviously the prototype than others. For example. for instance. the symbolism has a very low level of obviousness. the symbolism is less obvious. it is important to teach the child symbols as less obvious as possible. the symbolism is most obvious. we can speak of a degree of obviousness from the most obvious to the very unobvious. If she uses a doll. the symbolism is less obvious. The less obvious the symbols he can grasp are. Yet. So. a rod or a toy sword when pretending to fight by sword. may use a stick. it is useful to assign a value in one of the two forms: • • A numeric value from 0 to 10 where 0 is “least obvious” and 10 is “most obvious” (nearly identical). If she uses a toy comb in the stead of a real comb. intermediate obviousness and strong obviousness. If she has bare hands and no “child” in her arms but pretends to comb an invisible child with an invisible comb simply by going through the motions. let us consider a girl who does pretend play representing the action “I comb the hair of my child”: • • • • • • • If she combs the hair of her younger sister. One of the following values: weak obviousness. A child. the symbolism is less obvious. While it is nearly impossible to measure obviousness rigorously. more obvious symbols are easier for the child than the less obvious ones. If she uses a rectangular piece of wood for a comb. the symbolism is less obvious.

The student must have a predefined repertoire of symbols that he can use in play. [Behavioral Intervention] or [Portage Guide (ro)]. The student must be able to construct his own symbols corresponding to his level of development. 3. Teaching likeness 2. Teaching imaginative play -8- . The student must be able to construct his own sequences by altering or combining the ones in his portfolio or by inventing new ones. Teaching symbols The student must be able to detect likeness between objects apart from symbolization. However. so does the teaching of symbolization. this comes in stages. Teaching symbolization 4. to name a few. As shown in “Development of symbolic play” (page 19). we believe that symbolic play deserves special treatment due to its specifics. Since symbols come in stages. Teaching play sequences 5. The student must have a predefined repertoire of play scripts that he can use in play. [Caring For Your Young Child]. Teaching symbolic play goes through specific phases: 1. Teaching how to play in general has been addressed by many works: [Lovaas 2003].Symbolic Play Teaching symbolic play This section is concerned with how to teach symbolic play. the scripts consist in isolated actions first but they gradually evolve in more complex scenarios. As shown in “Development of symbolic play” (page 19) and “Building a symbolic play repertoire” (page 39). The specificity comes from symbols playing a central role.

a rabbit with gray fur resembles a rabbit with dark fur more than a rabbit with white fur. Training consists in the teaching itself. a book is like a brick. Such verbal expressions will become vehicles to teach play symbols later on (see “Teaching symbols” below). For example. -9- . a bicycle wheel is like a circle. when two images resemble with each other but are not identical. when two images differ more or less. using expressions like “alike”. Probing is verifying that the ability is really acquired.Symbolic Play Teaching likeness Teaching likeness comes in two phases: training and probing. “similar” as often as possible during training is recommended. “resembling”. • • • We believe it is important to verbalize likeness with the student so that the concept of likeness gets a name. a duck is like a goose and a goose is more like a duck than like a swan. Probing likeness The student has mastered likeness when he exhibits unhindered ability to detect likeness and more likeness spontaneously in natural settings: a stick is like a rod. “much like”. Training likeness The good thing about likeness is that there are plenty of ABA programs to teach it. A threshold of 5 instances per hour assuming favorable circumstances is enough. is the opposite of More likeness. This may not seem like a likeness exercise. when an image resembles a prototype more than another image. yet it is one in some way: the student has to mentally visualize the correct picture or the absence of the defect and compare the real image with that mental prototype in some fashion. The way to go is by showing a large number of pairs of pictures to the student and the goal is to make him able to decide upon: • • • Identity Likeness More likeness Less likeness Difference What's wrong? when two images are truly identical. when there is an inconsistency within a picture (a rabbit with three ears). This resembles both Difference and Likeness from above. a donkey is like a horse. Therefore.

Choosing symbolic likeness Symbolic likeness resides on attributes that the form and the prototype have in common as well as in attributes that the form does not have except in the child's interpretation during play. For example. Obviously. The symbolic prototypes must be well known to the child. he may add that the wooden stick also can “cut heads” like a real word does. Expressing likeness is not enough. Teaching a symbol requires choosing a symbolic prototype. It is better to start with one such attribute first. Choosing symbolic forms to teach The teacher should choose symbolic forms to teach based on the following criteria: • • The level of obviousness should decrease gradually. from very obvious to the least obvious (see “Degree of obviousness” at page 7). when trying to present a wooden stick as a sword the teacher may say that it “pierces”. a wooden stick is “long and stiff” like a sword. . one or two characteristics suffice. When the teacher expresses the likeness to the student. The teacher must also express the attributes of the prototype that the student may endow the form with. Both kinds of attributes have to be chosen carefully. it is better to simply state that the form “is like” the prototype without much detail. pretending mood. A good source of prototypes is the student's repertoire of tacts. otherwise the student may learn that a wooden stick really pierces and one can really cut heads with such an inoffensive object. If necessary. For example. expressing non-likeness attributes must take place in a playful. Choosing symbolic prototypes to teach The teacher should choose symbolic prototypes to teach based on the following criteria: • • The symbolic prototypes must conform to the level of child's development (see “Development of symbolic play” at page 19). A way to probe how well the student knows the tacts is to put them through LRFFC trials. The goal of teaching symbolic forms is to use them later in play. a symbolic form and a symbolic likeness between the two.10 - . Symbolic forms that do not make good toys or play actions should be avoided. Later on.Symbolic Play Teaching symbols This section is concerned with teaching play symbols in isolation.

For example. “We carry it at the hip” (4th trial). “It cuts flesh and bones in battle!” (3rd trial). The mastery criteria are: • • A 18/20 rate of spontaneous utterances per session obtained without prompt. If the student has no intraverbal skills. 3. If the student has intraverbal skills. For example: “This wooden stick looks like a sword.Symbolic Play A teaching protocol The therapist may use the following protocol to teach symbols. Using sessions of 20 trials consisting in five symbols repeated four times is in line with the standard teaching practice of Verbal Behavior Analysis (see [Verbal Behavior Analysis]). . It can also have the property to pierce an enemy!”. This protocol has several steps for the teacher to carry out: 1. each time mentioning slightly different properties that the form may get from the prototype. 3D objects. the teacher should not say that the form may have a property of the prototype. objects in their natural placement. 5. Either case. the teacher may ask “This resembles a . We can pierce the enemy with it!”. whatever is necessary to ensure that the student has them fresh in memory.” and wait for the student to complete the sentence.11 - . Decide which prototypes to teach. 2. The second mastery criterion means that no symbol should take the frozen form of rote memorization. At least two variants of the symbolic likeness per form/prototype couple. Suggest to the student that the form may be endowed with properties that it doesn't have by expressing attributes of the prototype as naturally belonging to the form. “We can cut the head off with it!” (2nd trial). then “Show the one that resembles this” is enough.. Present the student with the prototypes. In other words.. in-vivo demonstrations. it must say that the form can be the prototype. We say “We can pierce the enemy with it!”. Rotate the trials by repeating each form/prototype couple several times. Examples for “This wooden stick looks like a sword”: “We can pierce the enemy with it!” (1st trial). we don't say: “This wooden stick looks like a sword. 4. Indirect expressions must be avoided. It is not the only way to do it and teachers should feel free to change it as they see fit. Use pictures. Present a symbolic form to the student and ask him which of the prototypes is best resembling the form. prototype and one variant of symbolic likeness. if the student masters likeness (see “Probing likeness” at page 9) the answer should not be a problem. The goal of each teaching session is to make the child utter without prompt the symbol in terms of form.

.12 - . it's recommended to follow several guidelines: • • • Static symbols are the easiest. The same symbolic prototype may have more than one symbolic form. The teacher should start teaching with static symbols. Teaching as many forms for the same prototype empowers the student with more choices during play.Symbolic Play How-To guidelines When teaching play symbols in isolation. Teaching multiple forms for the same prototype should start with the most obvious ones. the least obvious ones are the hardest (see “Degree of obviousness” at page 7). intrinsic dynamic symbols are the hardest (see page “Kinds of symbols” at page 5). The most obvious symbolic forms are the easiest.

3.5 points. If the student spontaneously finds a symbol with a correct form/prototype/symbolic likeness triad.. The next sub-section shows how to check for the existence of symbolization. 4. give him 0. give him 0. give him 1 point. it is a sign that training must continue. Select five objects or actions that the student knows very well (they have been probed through tacting and autoclitic training. . and there is no reason to change it (see [Lovaas 2003] and [Verbal Behavior Analysis]). Add all the points obtained by the student. The teacher should do the following: 1. if it's something that resembles a plane.” followed by the name of a prototype that is very different from the actual prototype. A score of 18 or greater shows that the student has the capacity to symbolize. Choose four symbolic forms for each prototype of various degrees of obviousness (the forms should not be less obvious than the level of obviousness he's been trained for). see [Verbal Behavior Analysis]) and to practicing phrase expansion over and over.5 points. If the student associates a prototype different from the one you intended. While acquiring many symbols is important. If the student associates the same prototype as the one you thought of initially. If the student says “It's not a cow. we cannot teach symbolization in itself. Without this ability. Probing the existence of symbolization The teacher can probe the existence of symbolization by checking that the student is able to construct novel symbols in 90% of the occasions where such an event is prone to occur. 2. Moreover. the child has to restrict his play to a predefined set of symbols without being able to exploit fully the potential of his environment. being able to symbolize is essential for symbolic play.. then: 1. verbal capabilities (higher order operants. This means that while the student still fails to gather all the necessary 18 points. Present the symbolic forms to the student one by one in random order and see whether the student is able to construct a symbol based on it: 1. If the student spontaneously finds a symbol with a correct form/prototype couple but with a symbolic likeness lacking prototype attributes. If the student needs a hint to find a symbol. it's a plane” then tell him “Why don't you play with that”. there may be a danger that he will not understand the symbols of his playmates. give him 1 point. The student may not know what to do with the symbolic form shown to him. These five elements will be symbolic prototypes. 2. 2. Just as we cannot teach speech in itself and we have to resort to teaching verbal operants. thus reducing his ability to engage in group play.Symbolic Play Teaching symbolization Symbolization is the ability to construct symbols. When this happens. Another method is to say “I'd like play with this . We cannot offer clear thresholds in the matter: just teach many symbols and check periodically whether the student exhibits symbolization. The only tool at our disposal is to teach as many symbols as possible until spontaneous symbolization eventually emerges. Whether this ability does emerges and how fast depends heavily on the individual. LRFFC training and/or intraverbal training) and that have never been used in symbol teaching.13 - . 3. his score may still grow from one probing to another. say “I'd like to play with this cow”. A 18/20 rate is common practice in ABA and VBA. The teacher may hint the student by saying “Let's play a little with this”. For example. Most likely symbolization occurs gradually.

8. Replace some elements with their symbolic forms. The alarm clock rings. Creating symbolic play scenarios Creating scenarios has the advantage that symbolism is not forged into something already existing. Yawning and stretching. The student must be able to play by himself or with others freely and naturally.14 - . The chain of real events as they happen to the student is the following (showering. Unfortunately. Creating a scenario is easy: • • Chain a sequence of real events that are well know to the student. 3. The teacher may use one of the following methods to teach the student how to play symbolically: • • By creating play scenarios containing a certain kind of symbolism right from their inception. Sleeps. some of them not. 6. He needs training. symbolic play does not follow in the footsteps of symbols just as speech does not rise spontaneously from learning separate words. let us consider writing a symbolic play scenario for “wake up in the morning”. Both speech and play have to be taught explicitly. Although the child may know the actions in isolation. Drying hands. 4. Obviously. some of them symbolic. By enhancing existing non-symbolic play scenarios with a certain amount of symbolism. Washing hands and face. Going to the drawer and dressing. For example. but learns that the same chain of actions may be represented in many ways during play. he may be unable to put the pieces together to produce symbolic play. 7. Getting out of bed. Thus the final outcome has better chances to be fluent and natural. 5. . A play sequence is formed of several actions. It is better to have as many as possible: this way the student does not learn mechanically a sequence of events. Putting sleepers on. the same chain of events may have more than one resulting play scenario. 9. Turning the water on.Symbolic Play Teaching play sequences Having a rich repertoire of play symbols is not enough. 10. The events must make use of known objects only. use of toilet not included): 1. Going to the lavatory. 2.

For example. Many such games and play ideas do not have symbolism yet they may be transformed to acquire symbolic qualities. real bed. real lavatory. an ad-hoc object in place of an alarm clock. rubies and sapphires. the outside of the house. a bucket. nothing (just pretending to put invisible sleepers on). For example. other kind of footwear. real water. . a bottle of water held by a peer. by replacing some elements of the play sequence with a symbolic form when possible. combing may be replaced with a fake combing (like combing with a fake comb). While it is tempting to replace all the elements used in this scenario with their symbolic forms. none. pretending to snore. real faucet.Symbolic Play The teacher may choose from the following symbolic forms when altering the above list in order to produce symbolic play sequences: • • • • • • • • • • • • Sleeping Alarm clock Alarm clock ringing Bed Sleepers The lavatory The sink The faucet Water Washing Drying hands Drawer pretending to sleep silently. nothing. then slowly replace some of the elements with their corresponding symbolic forms. real drawer. Obviously. nothing. real alarm clock. a balcony. a towel on the floor. nothing (just pretending to stand in front of an invisible sink). We may also tell the student that's a necklace for Cinderella to wear when she meets her prince. In order to learn how to employ symbolization when playing. When selecting a form from a collection of forms for the same prototype. this is rather bad practice. a couch. Another way is to leave the play session untouched but to attach symbolic interpretations to it. This way the beads mutate into glamorous jewelry that may stir the student's imagination.e. a lounge chair. a part of the playground. the second method requires better verbal abilities from the student's part. real ringing. Enhancing non-symbolic play scenarios Gathering already existing play scenarios from various sources (like books. magazines. the Internet) is an effective way to build a portfolio of play activities for a child.15 - . real washing. real tower. the corner of the room. if the play consists in stringing beads on a wire. This requires that the teacher should begin with the scenarios that resemble reality to the fullest. the floor itself. real sink. if the play sequence consists in combing and dressing a play doll. a sun bed. then we can teach the student that the beads are pieces of diamonds. pretending by going through the motions. One way to do that is by following the method at page 14. real sleepers. i. no physical form. imaginary drawer. a lounger. the most obvious forms should be considered first (see “Degree of obviousness” at page 7). toy alarm clock. the child has to experience the presence of symbols gradually. another person imitating the sound.

It relies partially on images. The student is supposed to run the cards through the device in order to learn what the script is about.16 - . There are disadvantages to this method. the student must become proficient in applying them. . Another advantage is that the student controls his own activity schedule which encourages responsibility and discipline. If the student is empty of play ideas or if he's got idle time. It requires magnetic cards and a special audio device in its less advanced incarnation. then he withdraws to let the student play by himself. Demonstrating the scenario to the student requires to play either by showing the session from start to finish or by engaging as a partner. It is necessary that the teacher demonstrates how to play first.Symbolic Play Demonstrating how to play No matter how well we craft the play scenarios. The idea is to replace the conversation scripts with play scripts. It is hard to expect that from a child who is so delayed that he doesn't know how to play well. to read quite fluently. Images are weak at representing symbols. eventually leaving the student to play alone or with a peer. in its advanced incarnation. he can open up his activity schedule and follow the script that lays out a play scenario. the teacher has to fade his presence. For the reasons above it is highly recommended to use scripts and script fading as a last resort only. We believe that scripting and script fading can be used successfully for play as well. though: • • • It requires the student. Either way. Using scripts and script fading The method of scripting and script fading has been used successfully in teaching conversational skills that are hard to teach via regular establishing operations because motivation is weak in casual talk (see [Teaching Conversation]). The main advantage of this method consists in the physical support that reminds the student what is to do.

The symbols. spontaneous play with no adult guidance is assumed. otherwise the student may remain be unable to play without the teacher's presence. The teacher leaves the root at the beginning of the play session and comes back at the end. 6. 8. 5. Yet. half-way turned from the student who is playing. the play sessions and the teaching in general has to be in line with the current development of the child. . Section “Planning symbolic play training” at page 41 shows how to plan symbolic play training while respecting the “play age”. No child acquires the ability to play suddenly. The teacher simply watches how the student plays.Symbolic Play Fading adult presence The [VB-MAPP] test has several milestones related to play. guiding the decision making. he has to choose toys and games that are age appropriate. The student requires time to get accustomed to playing by himself. the ability to play symbolically develops gradually (see “Development of symbolic play” below). when the adult intends to play with his typically developing child. It is wonderful that a child with autism can learn how to play. it is training that has to be done. The teacher sits remotely. it is important to keep in mind the “play age” of the student. During the therapy. The teacher exists temporarily the room for periods that grow gradually in duration. 7. The teacher ensures that the student is able to play well in his presence.17 - . Based on tests that evaluate a child's play behavior. By the same token. This “play age” is behind the chronological age. 3. Some milestones refer to independent play. Section “Development of symbolic play” at page 19 helps with determining the “play age” of a student and what kind of play to choose at any point of the therapy. one can compute a psychological age relative to play. A simple method to fade adult supervision and presence in the case of play exists in [Portage Guide (ro)] and consists of the following steps: 1. 4. When speaking about play with peers. suggesting variants. The teacher sits with his back turned to the student. The teacher cannot parse all these steps over one session. no matter how simple that play might be. pretending of being busy with something. 2. others to playing with peers. The teacher gradually grows the distance between him and the play area. Children with autism and related disorders may be considered as either dysfunctional or developmentally delayed in terms of play behavior. The teacher reduces his involvement in play: instructions. Choosing what to play In typically developing children. If the student learns from a teacher how to play it doesn't mean he'll know how to play independently and without guidance. The goal of the therapy is to eliminate that delay by developing functionality where missing. but this is not enough. Such an ability may require training as well.

Eventually. Altering sequences to produce new variants. One such example is the teaching of symbolization (see page 13). see “Development of symbolic play” at page 19). Repeating identically the play sequence over one of the next two sessions is permitted. Play imagination does not come out of nothing. imaginative play does not extend from one development stage to another (for development stages. the teaching of an essentially creative endeavor. there is no silver bullet to teaching imaginative play. Just as with teaching symbolization. Children with autism and related disorders have an overall problem with creativity and imagination. . Two variants of basically the same sequence are good candidates for such combination. The student repeats no novel play sequence identically over the next two subsequent play sessions. Transferring steps from one sequence to a different. the student starts to create new sequences by the following means: • • • Combining existing sequences into new ones. imaginative play has the following mastery criteria: • • Any play session exhibits novel play sequences that the student has never learned or seen. The solution is to teach as many play sequences as possible with as many variants as possible each. unrelated sequence that supports the steps in a completely different setting.Symbolic Play Teaching imaginative play A child's play becomes imaginative when the child begins to imagine play sequences he hasn't seen or wasn't taught before. Probing the existence of imaginative play Assuming that a play session is a period of time during which the student engages in uninterrupted play. i.e. The child learns to become imaginative by acquiring first many play patterns from his parents and peers. This means that it must be checked for each stage of symbolic play development (see “Planning symbolic play training” at page 41 and further). Just like symbolization. However. we believe that children with autism can become creative when they are given systematically a larger number of elements and instances of composition laws that they cannot acquire otherwise by natural means.18 - . but not over both. This problem reflects in play as well. One play sequence is enough and generating variants of previous sequences is accepted.

for example. for example. Exhibits following communicative functions: request (instrumental) and command (regulatory). . Language No true language. Tool use (uses stick to reach toy). Uses most common objects and toys appropriately. child may use word “car” when riding in a car. finds toy hidden under the scarf. • nonexistence • rejection • denial • agent • object • action or state • location • object or person associated with object or location. 9-12 mo Play Awareness that objects exist when not seen. uses a variety of motoric schemas. Exhibits following communicative functions: • request • command • interactional • personal • protesting • label • responsive • greeting. Finds toy invisibly hidden (when placed in box and box emptied under scarf). discovers operation of toy through trial and error. Context-dependent single words. Beginning of true verbal communication. Does not mouth or bang all toys – some used appropriately.19 - . 2. Means-end behavior – crawls or walks to get what he wants. 13-17 mo Purposeful exploration of toys. may have performative words (associated with actions or the total situation).Symbolic Play Development of symbolic play According to the Westby Symbolic Play Scale List (see [Behavioral Intervention] page 303). Each stage exhibits a certain amount of symbolism as well as a certain level of language development. symbolic play develops in 10 stages from the age of 9 months to 5 years. words tend to come and go in child's vocabulary. pulls string toys. Words have following functional and semantic relations: • recurrence • existence. 3. 17-19 mo Autosymbolic play. Age 1. child pretends to go to sleep or pretends to drink from cup or eat from spoon. Hands toy to adult if unable to operate. but not when he sees a car.

• Asks why. do . • Plurals. Block play consists of stacking and knocking down. • Responses to why questions inappropriately except for wellknown routines.20 - .. Sand and water play consists of filling. • Store-shopping. no true sequences.questions – generally props still required. 19-22 mo Play Language Symbolic play extends beyond child's self: Refers to objects and persons not present. a doll. The following morphological markers appear: • Present progressive (ing) on verbs. • Teacher-child. such as: “Why is the doctor here?” or “Baby sick”. but often inappropriately and does not attend to answer. particularly impressive or traumatic events. feeds doll a bottle or covers following semantic relations: doll with a blanket. 2 ½ years Represents events less frequently experienced or observed. • Doctor-nurse-sick child.Symbolic Play Age 4.questions in context: • What? • Who? • Whose? • Where? • What . • Plays with dolls: brushes doll's Beginning of word combinations with hair. daddy or baby. stirs and eats. some self-limiting sequences – puts food in pan. 5. • Agent-action • Child performs pretend activities on more than one person or object: • Action-object for example feed self. puts wh-word at the beginning of sentence. Realistic • Asks wh. Uses earlier pragmatic functions and semantic relations in phrases and short sentences. ? Events still short and isolated. pouring and dumping. • Attribute • Combines two toys in pretend • Action-locative play: for example puts spoon in • Object-locative pan or pours from pot into cup.. Roles shift quickly. • Possessives. • Possessive • Dative Represents daily experiences: plays house – is the mommy.. . Events short and isolated. Responds appropriately to the following wh. 24 mo 6.. objects used are realistic and close to life-size. • Agent-object mother and another child.

reenactment of experienced events with new outcomes. which are attempts at reproducing specific structures child has seen. 3 ½ – 4 years . airport.Symbolic Play Age 7. Events are not isolated: for example child mixes cake. Plans ahead.21 - . Uses terms for the following concepts (not always correctly): Uses blocks and sandbox for imaginative • shapes play. but now the play has a sequence. bakes it. could). garage. Associative play. calls ambulance. or doctor checks patient. serves it. but.” Uses dolls and puppets to act out scenes. 3 years Play Continues to pretend activities of Stage V and VI. because). might.. takes patient to hospital and operates. village).3 ½ years Carries out play activities of previous stages with a doll and Fisher-Price toys (barn. 3 .” • uses indirect requests. • Uses conjunctions (and. Compensatory toy. 9. if. • Begins to respond appropriately to why and how questions that require reasoning about perception. so. Language Uses past tense. such as “I ate the cake” or “I walked”.. Hypothesizes “what would happen if . will. Blocks used primarily as enclosures • sizes (fences and houses) for animals and dolls. Note: full competence of these modals and conjunctions does not develop until 10-12 years of age.. Uses future aspect (particularly “gonna”) forms. Verbalizes intentions and possible future events: • Uses modals (can.. Sequence evolves. such as “mommy lets me have cookies for breakfast” • changes speech depending on listener Begins to problem-solve events not experienced. 8. Descriptive vocabulary expands as child becomes more aware of perceptual attributes. would. may. Child uses • spatial relationship one object to represent another. washes the dishes. Builds three-dimensional structures with blocks. • gives dialogue to puppet and dolls Uses doll or puppet as participant in play. • metalinguistic language use such as “Mommy said . not planned. such as “I'm gonna wash dishes”. • colors • texture Play not totally stimulus-bound.

22 - . Coordinates more than one event occurring at a time.Symbolic Play Age 10. while. Highly imaginative. after). The following sub-sections contain play suggestions for the first six stages. Full cooperative play. first. While the proposed games are not necessarily symbolic in nature. Note: full competence does not develop until 10-12 years of age. The examples have been drawn from [Teach Me Do It] and [Raising The Child (ro)]. next. 5 years Play Plans a sequence of pretend events. Sets the scene without realistic props. Organizes what he needs – both objects and other children. Language Uses relational terms (then. they develop skills that favor symbolization later on. . last. before. when.

Does not mouth or bang all toys – some used appropriately. Game 1: where did mama go? Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Means-end behavior – crawls or walks to get what he wants. make a joyful sound (like in the peek-a-boo game). Awareness that objects exist when not seen. pulls string toys. .23 - . may have performative words (associated with actions or the total situation). Exhibits following communicative functions: request (instrumental) and command (regulatory).Symbolic Play Stage I: 9-10 months Symbolic play: • • • Speech: • • No true language. Game 2: stretch for that Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. but not in his reach. He must move. take a desirable object put it close to the child. When appearing. hide behind a door or a curtain. finds toy hidden under the scarf. stretch or crawl to get it. Ask “where did mama go?”.

Game 2: the pool Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)].Symbolic Play Stage II: 13-17 months Symbolic play: • Purposeful exploration of toys. etc). Instruct the child that the piece of paper is the only area allowed. fix a piece of white paper on the wall and encourage the child to write. • Speech: • Context-dependent single words. Hand him small objects (a pile of cereals) that he can fill the boxes with and empty the boxes.24 - . while busy in the kitchen. in the bathroom or in the back yard. • Exhibits following communicative functions: ◦ request ◦ command ◦ interactional ◦ personal ◦ protesting ◦ label ◦ responsive ◦ greeting. or stack them to discover size. pieces of clothing. Game 1: plastic boxes Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Game 3: imitations Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. discovers operation of toy through trial and error. . child may use word “car” when riding in a car. silverware. Hands toy to adult if unable to operate. etc). but not when he sees a car. Ask the child to imitate you when you use various objects (kitchen utensils. uses a variety of motoric schemas. words tend to come and go in child's vocabulary. telephone. give to the child a large bowl of water and some several objects (sponge. bathroom toys. Game 4: wall drawing and painting Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. hand plastic boxes to the child and encourage him to put them one into another to discover shape. Commend him when he tries to wear your cloths and imitate you. for example. ask the child to imitate you while you touch your body parts. draw and paint on it.

etc. Let the child get the candy. Encourage the child to do the same. OBS: great care so that the child doesn't hurt himself. Game 7: what's the match? Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Encourage him to open doors. turn lights on. a large toy) and engage him into a “race” that has to make him go over all the obstacles. shoes. You can imagine similar variants with anything that goes in pairs: gloves. Talk about the items he sees. skin and hair (see also Game 4: wall drawing and painting at page 24). Put an small object inside the tube and then push it with a long stick or spoon until it appears at the other end. etc. Game 8: the tour of the house Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. so that he develops fine motor skills. Put the sheet on a wall and encourage the child to color the interior of the contour with the colors corresponding to his clothing. get a cylinder made of plastic or cardboard.25 - . Ask him which one he has to put on. put many obstacles within the child's room (chairs. Make the child lay down over the sheet. show a toy to the child and then cover it with a towel. Let the child find the toy. put a red sock onto one child's foot and hand him two other sock. Game 10: self portrait Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Game 11: obstacle race Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. More complex game: choose the non-transparent bottle. Game 6: candy in prison Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Game 9: the tunnel Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. . take a big sheet of paper or make one by gluing several smaller sheets together. make daily tours with the child in each room within the house. a pillow. a box. take the piece of candy and put it into a bottle. Draw his contour on the paper with a crayon. You can make the game more complex by putting a cap or a cork – the child is supposed to ask for help.Symbolic Play Game 5: lost toy Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Encourage him to touch them and explore them.

Another variant: use boxes and lids. make pairs of objects of similar size but of different weight. Game 13: sorting Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. “even more faster”. an end point and a path between the two. Ask the child to restore the picture. change the picture. Game 16: trainman Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. establish a starting point. You can command: “faster”. Game 14: the professional taster Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Another variant: more than two kinds of objects. move to 4 pieces or more. “the fastest”. Have the child compare the weights and tell which one is heavier. seeds of two kinds. Another variant: use screws and bolts. You ask “the train” to run from start to end and back with various speeds. seeds and beads. Game 17: opening and closing items Source: Description: [Teach Me Do It]. When he's proficient with 3 pieces. The child will be the train. Another variant: make the child taste and smell the food. When he gets used to that. Another variants: use padlocks and keys. OBS: make sure the child doesn't swallow anything. Another variant: make the child sort the objects based on weight. Game 15: the balance Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Another variant: mix Lego pieces. Ask the child to match the lids to bottles or jars. close them and open them.26 - . make the child close his eyes or cover the child's eyes and give him various foods and drinks to taste (mashed foods are especially suitable).Symbolic Play Game 12: puzzle Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. mix many small objects of two different kinds (matches and coins. . etc) and ask the child to separate the two kinds. etc. take a picture and cut it in 3 pieces. Another variant: mix two kinds of silverware. “slower”. array in front of the child several bottles and jars of different dimensions with their lids.

. The child must look under the towel and not in the box. a long spoon) and let him grab the desired object. recurrence existence nonexistence rejection denial agent object action or state location object or person associated with object or location.Symbolic Play Stage III: 17-19 months Symbolic play: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Autosymbolic play. Game 3: box with wonders Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Let the child find the toy. that will be the “boat”. Uses most common objects and toys appropriately.27 - . Give the tool to the child (a stick. covered candy) and put it into a place that the child cannot retrieve it except by using a tool. Another variant: put the box with the toy into another larger box. Speech: beginning of true verbal communication. Repeat several times by putting desirable object on the pillow. Show to the child that by pulling the wire he can get the pillow. Game 2: going fishing Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Another variant: the the toy out of the box and put it under a towel nearby. child pretends to go to sleep or pretends to drink from cup or eat from spoon. put a towel onto the floor. for example. Tool use (uses stick to reach toy). take a desirable object (toy. Finds toy invisibly hidden (when placed in box and box emptied under scarf). Words have following functional and semantic relations: Game 1: reachin' without stretchin' Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Game 4: burning boat Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. show a toy to the child and put it in a box. When you shout “burning boat!”. the child has to jump into the “sea” (outside the towel). take a small pillow and attach a wire to it. The child has to sit onto the towel.

Game 8: weave the paper Source: Description: [Teach Me Do It]. Start with small distances then grow the distance gradually. Weave the resulted strips transversally through the paper holes to obtain a small rug. Place yourself in some part of the room and make a sound (bell. Reward better performances. Game 7: the robot Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. . The child has to find an object of the same color and run to it as fast as possible. Game 6: go after sound Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Another variant: move slowly while you are making the sound. cover the child's eye or make him close his eyes. The child must “turn you on” and then command you until you stand up. The child has to find you by following the sound's direction. You may change roles. lay on the floor and pretend you are a robot.Symbolic Play Game 5: run to color Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. etc). Another variant: color the rectangles before cutting them out. alarm clock.28 - . name a color and start to count. have the child to cut narrow rectangles in a sheet of paper.

allow him to touch the object under the towel. a doll. tree. tree . Game 2: monsters in the dark Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Child performs pretend activities on more than one person or object: for example feed self. tree. Game 4: mystery object Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. when you are on a trip. establish a color with the child.. During the trip name objects from the environment that have that color. Another variant: start with one object.” for color green). If he cannot guess. when outside in a park or a forest. It's forbidden to repeat the objects (like “tree. feeds doll a bottle or covers doll with a blanket. Beginning of word combinations with following semantic relations: Game 1: follow the color Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Game 3: treasure hunt Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Ask the child to guess what it is just by looking the the object covered by the towel. turn the light off in the room or cover the child's eyes. . ask the child to bring to you four objects: one round. Agent-action Action-object Agent-object Attribute Action-locative Object-locative Possessive Dative Speech: refers to objects and persons not present.. Another variant: ask the child to think about bringing objects with two attributes into the same time. mother and another child.29 - .Symbolic Play Stage IV: 19-22 months Symbolic play extends beyond child's self: • • • • • • • • • • • Plays with dolls: brushes doll's hair. Combines two toys in pretend play: for example puts spoon in pan or pours from pot into cup. Put an object in the child's hand and ask him what it is. take an object and hide it under a towel. one thorny and one that can float. one yellow.

Game 6: smooth and rough Source: Description: [Teach Me Do It]. the hardest. make the child say which object is the hardest and which one the softest. Another variant: use three objects. take a soft object and a hard object. but with rough and smooth objects.Symbolic Play Game 5: hard and soft Source: Description: [Teach Me Do It].30 - . the softest and intermediate. the same as in Game 5. Another variant: go to up to eight objects. Another variant: use four objects. . Make him touch the objects and say “this is hard” and “this is soft”. Cover the child's eyes.

use various pieces of two colors (like Lego pieces) and form chains of repeating patterns: red. Game 2: imaginary finger drawing Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Another variant: switch from color pattern to shape pattern: square. Make sounds with various objects (open and close scissors. but not entirely. ◦ Plurals. yellow. Game 1: repeating patterns Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)].. Ask the child to continue the chain by keeping the pattern. Another variant: switch from color pattern to object pattern: apple.Symbolic Play Stage V: 24 months Symbolic play: • • • • Speech: • • Uses earlier pragmatic functions and semantic relations in phrases and short sentences. draw an image on a large sheet of paper. Another variant: draw simple objects (apple.). square. rectangle. Game 3: mystery drawing Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. take one small piece of paper out. hat. red. Another variant: draw on his belly (assuming he doesn't tickle). Ask the child to guess what object is by looking at the uncovered portion of the drawing. no true sequences. pear. Cover the image with smaller pieces of paper. ◦ Possessives. Sand and water play consists of filling. objects used are realistic and close to life-size. rectangle. open and close a book loudly. pear.. pouring and dumping. . Represents daily experiences: plays house – is the mommy. stirs and eats.. pear. red . Block play consists of stacking and knocking down.. some self-limiting sequences – puts food in pan. Another variant: grow the number of colors. so that the child can see more.. If he cannot guess.. The following morphological markers appear: ◦ Present progressive (ing) on verbs. Game 4: mystery sound Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. . ask the child to stay with his back turned to you. rip paper off. yellow. daddy or baby. etc) and ask the child to guess what's happening without looking. . Events short and isolated. draw an imaginary shape on the table with your finger and let the child guess what it is.31 - . apple.

spoon and desert spoon. fork. Then ask the child to set the table by matching the objects to their contours.Symbolic Play Game 5: set the table Source: Description: [Teach Me Do It]. After several trials make the child set the table without the help of contours. . glass. knife.32 - . take a big sheet of paper and draw with a pencil the contours of a plate.

? Asks wh. Discuss the reasons to choose one picture over another with the child. Game 2: the prompter Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. but often inappropriately and does not attend to answer..33 - . • • • • • • • • • Speech: responds appropriately to the following wh. What? Who? Whose? Where? What .. do . such as: “Why is the doctor here?” or “Baby sick”. ◦ Store-shopping. ◦ Teacher-child. particularly impressive or traumatic events. . a book or a pile of pictures to the child. Events still short and isolated.questions in context: Game 1: find the emotion Source: Description: [Raising The Child (ro)]. Realistic props still required. ◦ Doctor-nurse-sick child.questions – generally puts wh-word at the beginning of sentence..Symbolic Play Stage VI: 2 ½ years Symbolic play: • Represents events less frequently experienced or observed. Asks why. Roles shift quickly. Ask the child to assist you and follow his commands. The child has identify a person or an animal showing that emotion. do an activity that you usually do accompanied by the child. name an emotion and hand a magazine.. Pretend to forget the next step of what you need. Responses to why questions inappropriately except for well-known routines.

Is the end moment of the play session or of a symbolic sub-session. Type Play session Symbolic play sub-session Start End Symbols Is the ordinal number of the symbolic sub-session. This section is concerned solely with the quality of symbolic play and not with play in general. The elements in the sheet have the following meanings: • • • • • • • Nr.symbolic prototype couple representing a symbolic liaison during play. quality seems to exist considering that parents and educators admonish sometimes the children for not playing “nice” or commend them when they play in an imaginative and intelligent way. see [Autism and Play]. Symbolic play observation sheet The teacher may use the sheet on the next page in order to record the symbolic content of a play session of the student.34 - . With the observation sheet in his hand. he must transfer the data into the summarizing sheet present at page 36. Is the type of the session recorded. Is a period of time during which the student plays without significant interruption.Symbolic Play Quality of symbolic play It is hard to talk about the quality of an activity so complex and personal as play. Yet. For a questionnaire of play observation. Is a symbolic form . Is the start moment of the play session or of a symbolic sub-session. He must strike out afterwards the repeated symbolic forms. After eliminating duplicates. It may be either the whole play session or a sub-session with symbolic content. . the teacher must record the data about the student's play. the repeated symbolic prototypes and the indexes of the repeated symbols (repeated form = prototype couples). Is a period of time during a play session in which the student performs symbolic play without significant interruption.

_____________ = _____________ 2. _____________ = _____________ 5. _____________ = _____________ 3. _____________ = _____________ 3. _____________ = _____________ 5.Symbolic Play Nr. 8. 4. _____________ = _____________ 5. _____________ = _____________ 2. _____________ = _____________ 5. _____________ = _____________ 5. _____________ = _____________ Symbolic play sub-session ____ : ____ ____ : ____ Symbols: 1. _____________ = _____________ Symbolic play sub-session ____ : ____ ____ : ____ Symbols: 1. _____________ = _____________ 4. n/a 1. 6. _____________ = _____________ Symbolic play sub-session ____ : ____ ____ : ____ Symbols: 1. _____________ = _____________ 4. _____________ = _____________ 4. _____________ = _____________ Symbolic play sub-session ____ : ____ ____ : ____ Symbols: 1. _____________ = _____________ 2. Symbolic play sub-session ____ : ____ ____ : ____ Symbols: 1. _____________ = _____________ 3. 3. _____________ = _____________ 5. _____________ = _____________ Symbolic play sub-session ____ : ____ ____ : ____ Symbols: 1. _____________ = _____________ 2. _____________ = _____________ 3. _____________ = _____________ 4. _____________ = _____________ 3. _____________ = _____________ 3. _____________ = _____________ 5. _____________ = _____________ 2. _____________ = _____________ 3. _____________ = _____________ 4. _____________ = _____________ 2. _____________ = _____________ Symbolic play sub-session ____ : ____ ____ : ____ Symbols: 1. _____________ = _____________ 2. _____________ = _____________ 4. _____________ = _____________ 3. Type Play session Start (hh:mm) End (hh:mm) Content Enter the start and the end of the play session. _____________ = _____________ 4. 5. . _____________ = _____________ 5. _____________ = _____________ 4. _____________ = _____________ 2. 7.35 - . _____________ = _____________ 2. _____________ = _____________ Symbolic play sub-session ____ : ____ ____ : ____ Symbols: 1.

It is the ratio of 6) to 2). It is the number of unique elements represented in symbolic play by symbolic forms. It is the ratio of 10) to 2). It is the ratio of 12) to 10). 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) Proportion of symbolic play (%) Number of symbolic play sub-sessions Average duration of continuous symbolic play (min) Number of different symbols used Average number of symbols per symbolic subsession Average number of symbols per minute of play (symbol/min) Average number of symbols per minute of symbolic play (symbol/min) Number of different symbolic forms used 11) 12) Average number of symbolic forms per minute of symbolic play (form/min) Number of different symbolic prototypes used 13) 14) Average number of symbolic prototypes per minute of symbolic play (prototype/min) Average number of forms per prototype (form/prototype) . It is the ratio of 2) to 4).Symbolic Play Symbolic play observation summarizer The teacher must summarize the results obtained with the sheet at page 35 into the following sheet: Student name: ________________ Symbolic Play Observation Summarizer Nr. It is the sum of the length of all symbolic play subsessions. It is the ratio of 6) to 1). It is the number of unique concrete objects or actions used in symbolic play. It is the ratio of 12) to 2). It is the ratio of 2) to 1). It is the number of subsession symbolic in nature. It is the ratio of 6) to 4). It is the number of form = prototype unique pairs. 1) 2) Name Duration of the play session (min) Duration of symbolic play (min) I II Observer's name: ________________ Date: ________________ III IV Description It is the total duration of a play session.36 - .

• Average number of symbols per minute of play • Average number of symbols per minute of symbolic play . This value has to be as large as possible. if the student used the symbol stick = sword three times. For example. • Duration of play session • Duration of symbolic play • Proportion of symbolic play • Number of symbolic play sub-sessions • Average duration of continuous symbolic play • Number of different symbols used. It cannot be larger than Duration of play session. Too large a value means the student switches from symbolic to non-symbolic play too quickly. This value has to be as large as possible. in average. It tells how many times the student engaged in continuous symbolic play. It tells how much of the play time the student has spent on symbolic play. This value has to be as large as possible. This value has to be as large as possible. It is a measure of symbolic “density” of a student's play. This value has to be as large as possible. 0 means no symbolic play. the teacher can compare how the symbolic play behavior evolves over time. 100% means the play was entirely symbolic.Symbolic Play Interpreting results The values in the summarizer have the following meanings: • I. IV The summarizer has room for up to four session. The teacher obtains this number by summing up the lengths of the symbolic sub-sessions. then the summarizer records “stick = sword” only once. It is a measure of the amount symbolism contained by a student's play. By summarizing different sessions on the same sheet.37 - . 0% means total absence of symbolic play. the student sustains continuous symbolic play. It the summed length of time that the child sustains symbolic play. III. II. It does not include duplicates • Average number of symbols per symbolic sub-session It is an indicator of how imaginative the symbolic play of the child is. This value has to be as large as possible. Is the length of time that the child sustains continuous play. It tells how much. This value has to be as large as possible with the mention that rejecting nonsymbolic forms of play like board games of physical play is not good either.

It is a measure of the student's proficiency in using his knowledge in symbolic play. • Average number of symbolic forms per minute of symbolic play • Number of different symbolic prototypes per minute of symbolic play • Average number of symbolic prototypes per minute of symbolic play • Average number of forms per prototype It is a measure of the student's ability to match available objects to elements in his mind. It is a measure of the student's proficiency in using the environment in symbolic play. a value as stable as possible from one evaluation to another is better. It does not include duplicates. then the summarizer records “stick” only once. if the student represents a fuse both by a wooden stick and by a metal rod. then the summarizer records “fuse” only once. This value has to be as large as possible. While there is not optimal value for this number. For example. A value much larger than 1 means that the student is not very imaginative. . if the student uses a stick both as a sword and as a flag pole. For example. A value much smaller than 1 means that the student does not know how to exploit the environment.38 - .Symbolic Play • Number of different symbolic forms used It does not include duplicates. This value has to be as large as possible.

round Long. the child adorning the form with a prototype attribute the form does not have. As explained in “Development of symbolic play” at page 19. Moreover. Building a repertoire of symbols Children with autism have trouble with extracting and using symbols in play. They need to be taught symbols explicitly. throwing projectiles It is essential to use symbolic prototypes that the student knows well.39 - . heavy Virtual likeness Explodes Cuts. The attributes that the symbolic likeness rests upon may belong to a real likeness between the form and the prototype or may belong solely to the prototype. thin. it is strongly recommended to try to derive new stages' repertoires from the previous ones by enhancing the existing symbols with new attributes. The symbolic likeness which links the two. which is the concept that the child has in mind and intents to represent in play. stiff Sturdy. Pebble Stick Rock . The teacher may use the following table to keep track of the symbols taught to the student: Nr. moving. a symbol has three components: • • • The symbolic prototype. 4. Therefore. 3. Symbolic form Symbolic prototype Grenade Sword Enemy tank Real likeness Small. it is better to devise a repertoire for each stage of development than a single repertoire for all. As shown in “Components of play symbols” at page 4. Likewise. snaps Big. The symbolic form.Symbolic Play Building a symbolic play repertoire A symbolic play repertoire consists of a repertoire of symbols and a repertoire of games and play scripts. the symbolic form must be familiar to the student. 2. which is what the child use or does in play. .. by reusing the existing forms to represent additional prototypes or by adding new forms to represent existing prototypes. 1. symbolic abilities grow over time.. as proven by the list of trained tacts and their usage in LRFFC training.

They should be developments of scripts corresponding to earlier stages. They must contain symbols in the repertoire of symbols corresponding to the current stage or earlier stages. the teacher may proceed with creating a repertoire of play scripts for the same stage.Symbolic Play Building a repertoire of play scripts After constructing the repertoire of symbols for the current stage of symbolic play (see “Development of symbolic play” at page 19). .40 - . • • • We believe that having a portfolio emerging from an initial set of fifty core scripts into a repertoire of several hundred variants suffices in terms of the necessary variety necessary teach to children how to play as naturally as possible. The same core scenario should come in as many variants as possible to avoid rote memorization of scripts. If the student is developmentally at Stage II. The new scripts should satisfy the following conditions: • They must be appropriate in contents and complexity to the existing stage of symbolic development. it is useless to design play scripts representing occasional events like doctor-nurse-patient (see Stage VI: 2 ½ years at page 33).

Preliminary stage Before commencing. 3. Check the mastery of likeness capabilities if not already checked. 2. Stage I If the student is at Stage I of symbolic play development. If the student does not master likeness.41 - . Check for mastery all the verbal milestones corresponding to Stage I before moving to Stage II. it is necessary to teach likeness. we have the Westby Scale of Symbolic Play Development that we can use as a guide. Check the mastery of likeness capabilities if not already checked. . Fortunately enough. Check for mastery of imaginative play at this level. 4.Symbolic Play Planning symbolic play training As [Autism and Play] witnesses. teaching a child with autism is hard yet the reward is great for both the student and the teacher. 2. the planning below follows it closely. One should keep in mind that the planning below refers to symbolic play only. do the following: 1. 4. 3. 5. Do the games shown in “Stage II: 13-17 months” at page 24 or other similar games. we believe this correlation should be maintained for children with autism and related disorders. However. 6. training symbolic play requires careful planning. Because the half of the scale referring to symbolic play is closely related with the verbal development half. Stage II If the student is at the Stage II of symbolic play development. Do the games shown in “Stage I: 9-10 months” at page 23 or other similar games. do the following: 1. Build a repertoire of objects by adding objects appropriate for this stage to the repertoire of objects from Stage I. Such correlation requires from the therapist that he does not advance to the next stage of symbolic play until the child demonstrates the verbal skills corresponding to the current stage. The teaching steps have already been detailed in “Training likeness” and the protocol for mastery verification has been laid out in “Probing likeness”. then symbolic play training should proceed while postponing mastery verification for a later moment. it is essential that the student learns how to play non-symbolically as well. the following sub-sections give guidelines for each stage. Like any difficult task. That being said. Check for mastery of all the verbal milestones corresponding to Stage II before moving to Stage III. Therefore. Build a repertoire of objects that will be used as symbol prototypes later on. A good source to find non-symbolic games for ages 0 to 6 is [Raising The Child (ro)]. Check for mastery of imaginative play at this level.

8. Check for mastery of imaginative play at this level. 3. Teach the play scripts in the repertoire. 4. The repertoire should contain a least 20 different scripts. Do the games shown in “Stage IV: 19-22 months” at page 29 or other similar games. 3. do the following: 1. 6. Maintain the repertoire of objects separately. 8. Check for mastery of all the verbal milestones corresponding to Stage IV before moving to Stage V. Do the games shown in “Stage V: 24 months” at page 31 or other similar games.Symbolic Play Stage III If the student is at Stage III of symbolic play development. 2. 3. 4. 8. Do the games shown in “Stage III: 17-19 months” at page 27 or other similar games. Check the mastery of likeness capabilities and do not move to Stage IV until mastery is achieved. do the following: 1. . Build a repertoire of symbols by: 1. 7. Build a repertoire of very short play scripts appropriate for Stage III. 7. 2. 3. 7. Augmenting the repertoire of symbols from the previous stage. 5. 6. 4. do the following: 1. Build a repertoire of short scripts appropriate for Stage V. Build a repertoire of short scripts appropriate for Stage IV. Teach symbolization at the level of Stage IV. 2. Check for mastery of all the verbal milestones corresponding to Stage V before moving to Stage VI. Start a repertoire of symbols starting from the repertoire of objects of the previous stages augmented with objects and body parts appropriate for Stage III. Stage IV If the student is at Stage IV of symbolic play development. Adding new symbols. 7. Teach the symbols necessary for the scripts in the repertoire. Teach the play scripts in the repertoire. 2. Check for mastery of imaginative play at this level. The repertoire should contain at least 50 different core scripts with a few variants each. Using the repertoire of objects from the previous stages. The repertoire should contain no less than 100 different core scripts with a few variants each.42 - . 5. Check for mastery of imaginative play at this level. Build a repertoire of symbols by: 1. 2. 5. Teach the symbols necessary for the scripts in the repertoire. Check for mastery of all the verbal milestones corresponding to Stage III before moving to Stage IV. Adding new symbols. Augmenting the repertoire of symbols from the previous stage. Teach symbolization at the level of Stage III. Teach the play scripts in the repertoire. Stage V If the student is at Stage V of symbolic play development. 6. Teach symbolization at the level of Stage V. Teach the symbols necessary for the scripts in the repertoire.

43 - . 6. Teach the symbols necessary for the scripts in the repertoire. 5. 4. Teach the symbols necessary for the scripts in the repertoire. Create scripts that represent play sequences. Build a repertoire of symbols by: 1. Adding new symbols. Check for mastery of all the verbal milestones corresponding to Stage VII before moving to Stage VIII. 2. 7. do the following: 1. 2.. 6. Adding new symbols. . 2. Do the games shown in “Stage VI: 2 ½ years” at page 33 or other similar games. Build a repertoire of scripts appropriate for Stage VII by: 1. Teach the play scripts in the repertoire. Teach symbolization at the level of Stage VI-VII if mastery has failed at Stage VI. Augmenting the repertoire of symbols from the previous stage. 3. Create scripts that represent play sequences. 5. 2. Build a repertoire of symbols by: 1. Stage VIII If the student is at Stage VIII of symbolic play development. Combining similar scripts to obtain longer scripts (sequences). Build a repertoire of short scripts appropriate for Stage VI.Symbolic Play Stage VI If the student is at Stage VI of symbolic play development. 2. Teach symbolization at the level of Stage VI-VII. 2. Combining similar scripts to obtain longer scripts (sequences). 6. Check for mastery of imaginative play at this level. Teach the play scripts in the repertoire. Teach the play scripts in the repertoire. 4. 7. 4. 7. Build a repertoire of scripts appropriate for Stage VII by: 1. The repertoire should contain no less than 150 different core scripts with a few variants each. Check for mastery of imaginative play at this level. 2. Teach symbolization at the level of Stage VIII. 5. Check for mastery of imaginative play at this level. 8. Check for mastery of all the verbal milestones corresponding to Stage VIII before moving to Stage IX. do the following: 1. Adding new symbols. do the following: 1. 3. 3. Augmenting the repertoire of symbols from the previous stage. Build a repertoire of symbols by: 1. 2. Augmenting the repertoire of symbols from the previous stage. If mastery fails. Teach the symbols necessary for the scripts in the repertoire. do not postpone move to Stage VII. Stage VII If the student is at Stage VII of symbolic play development. Check for mastery of all the verbal milestones corresponding to Stage VI before moving to Stage VII.

3. . Create new scripts in line with the stage. do the following: 1. 2. Check for mastery of all the verbal milestones corresponding to Stage X before considering the stage mastered. Teach the symbols necessary for the scripts in the repertoire. 6.44 - . Teach the symbols necessary for the scripts in the repertoire. Augmenting the repertoire of symbols from the previous stage. 2. 5. 2. 3. Check for mastery of imaginative play at this level. 7. 6. do the following: 1. Build a repertoire of symbols by: 1. Create new scripts in line with the stage. Check for mastery of imaginative play at this level.. 5. Build a repertoire of scripts appropriate for Stage IX by: 1. Adding new symbols. Check for mastery of all the verbal milestones corresponding to Stage IX before moving to Stage X. Modify existing scripts to include cooperative play. 4.Symbolic Play Stage IX If the student is at Stage IX of symbolic play development.. Modify existing scripts to include hypotheses and problem-solving. Teach the play scripts in the repertoire. Teach symbolization at the level of Stage IX. 2. Build a repertoire of scripts appropriate for Stage IX by: 1. 2. Teach the play scripts in the repertoire. Stage X If the student is at Stage X of symbolic development. Teach symbolization at the level of Stage IX. 4.

. verbal behavior. It proposes criteria to measure the quality of symbolic play and it offers guidelines to plan the training of symbolic play.45 - . This document presents the central role of symbols and symbolization in the ability to perform symbolic play.Symbolic Play Summary Symbolic play is an essential part of child development and there is a strong correlation between the cognitive and verbal abilities of typically developing children and their play. It shows the major stages of symbolic play development. speech therapy) so that the child with autism gains a harmonious and natural development as possible. Children with autism and related disorders have certain characteristics that prevent them from engaging spontaneously in play or finding joy in it. The document is meant to be used in conjunction with the other kinds of therapies for autism (applied behavior analysis.

Ghidul PORTAGE pentru educaţia timpurie. 2008. 2008. 1985 [Teaching Conversation]: Lynn E. Hannemann. 1998. Krantz. Greer. Ross. Autism and Play. ISBN: 0-7641-2789-6 [VB-MAPP]: Mark L. Denise E. 2005..Revised. Lone Gammeltoft.46 - . Basic intervention techniques. Behavioal Intervention for Young Children with Autism. ISBN: [ABLLS-R]: James W. ISBN: 978-1-890627-32-4 . Sundberg. McClannahan. 2005. ISBN: 978-089079889-8 [Verbal Behavior Analysis]: Douglas R. The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills . Bluma et al... Teaching Individuals with Developmental Delays. ISBN: 973-200675-7 [Behavioral Intervention]: Catherine Maurice et al.. ISBN: 978-1853028458 [Caring For Your Young Child]: Shelov. 2003. Patricia J. Scripts and script fading. ISBN: 978-1-84310-852-8 Portage Guide (ro): S. How to teach children with autism and related disorders. Teach Me Do It Myself. ISBN: [The VB Approach]: Mary Lynch Barbera.Symbolic Play Bibliography [Raising The Child (ro)]: Anne Bacus. Steven P. 2000. 2008. Partington. 1996. Teaching Conversation to Children with Autism. et al. Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program.. The Verbal Behavior Approach. Tracy Rasmussen. ISBN: 978-0-205-45837-0 [Autism and Play]: Jannik Beyer. Inducing and expanding verbal capabilities in children with language delays. Verbal Behavior Alaysis. Birth to Age 5. Montessori activities for you and your child. 2004. Robert E. Caring For Your Baby and Young Child. ISBN: 978-089079683-2 [Lovaas 2003]: Ivaar O. Creşterea Copilului de la o zi la şase ani. Lovaas et al. ISBN: 0-553-11045-4 [Teach Me Do It]: Maja Pitamic. 2007.