Chinese Journal of Rehabilitation Theory and Practice ›› 2023, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (1): 6-11.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1006-9771.2023.01.002

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Typical behavior analysis of children with autism in symbolic play

LÜ Panpan, XU Chongfeng, GAO Wenting, LIU Congcong, GENG Limeng, LIU Fang()   

  1. Department of Children's Health Care, Binzhou Medical University Hospital, Binzhou, Shandong 256603, China
  • Received:2022-11-22 Revised:2022-12-19 Online:2023-01-25 Published:2023-02-17
  • Contact: LIU Fang, E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province(ZR2022MH036);Health Science and Technology Development Program of Shandong Province(202006040694)


Objective To explore the typical behavior characteristics of children with autism in symbolic play and the value of Symbolic Play Test (SPT) in the early identification of autism.

Methods From November, 2021 to September, 2022, a total of 260 children with language problems were collected from Department of Children's Health Care of Binzhou Medical University Hospital. A total of 193 children with autism were as observation group and 67 normal children were as control group. All children played symbolic games. The typical behavioral characteristics of children with autism in SPT were explored, and a reliability and validity analysis based on the results of SPT was conducted. They were assessed with the adaptive and personal social scores of Gesell Development Scale, and the correlation of the scores of Gesell Development Scale and the score of SPT was analyzed.

Results The Cronbach's α coefficient of SPT of children with autism was 0.835 to 0.935, and the total score of SPT, the scores of surrogate object, fictional attribute and fictional object were positively correlated with each other (r> 0.607, P< 0.001). The SPT scores decreased in the observation group (t> 9.615, P< 0.001), and SPT score positively correlated with adaptability and personal-social development quotient (r> 0.609, P< 0.001).

Conclusion Typical behavior of children with autism can be reflected in symbolic play, and SPT can provide clues for early identification of autism.

Key words: autism, symbolic play, typical behavior

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