Parent descriptions of the active play behaviours of their twins and triplets with autism
Abu Itham, Marie
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Children with autism engage in active play in different ways than children who are neurotypical, but the active play behaviours of children with autism are not well understood. Research with twins and triplets with autism offers a unique opportunity to explore the active play behaviours of children with autism because children within a twin or triplet sibling group share many similarities (age, access to toys, etc.) enabling the researcher to gain a clear picture of their play behaviours. Through semi-structured interviews, this descriptive phenomenological study aimed to explore and describe the active play behaviours of 19 twins and triplets with autism from the perspective of their parents (N=9). The interviews revealed three main themes including1) parents’ descriptions of active play, 2) parents’ descriptions of social play and 3) active play as a window into a child’s world. The results from this study reveal the diverse play behaviours of twins and triplets with autism; parents described their children engaging in sensory, indoor, outdoor, and organized play and making play choices based on their unique interests, strengths, and motivations. These results suggest that parents value active play as a way to connect with their children and that children with autism may be meeting the definition of active play in non-traditional ways.