Play active engagement (Williams et al., 2001). In contrast,

Play is
an essential part of child development. Through play, children learn social
skills, teamwork, and turn-taking. Social language is learned, self-esteem is
built, and friendships are formed during recreational activities with peers.
Play fosters cognitive development, emotional growth, and influences
personality enrichment. It provides a means of adventuring diverse societal
roles, and offers time to practice finding resolutions to problems. Creativity
and imagination are cultivated through play. For generally developing children,
engaging in pleasurable, imaginative and socially interactive play is an ordinary
part of life. In contrast, many children with autism spectrum disorders do not engage
in play in a way that is beneficial to their development (Williams, Reddy &
Costall, 2001).

Play is
defined as an activity that is pleasurable, intrinsically motivated, flexible,
non-literal, voluntary, and involves active engagement (Williams et al.,
2001).
In contrast, children with autism spectrum disorders often participate in fixed,
repetitive play behaviors and may not display symbolic or pretend play patterns.
Individuals with this disorder tend to view everything as concrete and literal;
subsequently, they have trouble with abstract and imaginative behavior.
Children with autism spectrum disorders may also display deficits in sequencing
and motor planning. As a result of these deficits, they may not develop beneficial
play or understand how to play with other children (Williams et al.,
2001).

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Play in
children with autism spectrum disorders is often introverted. Several factors
contribute to the lack of social play. First, children with autism have
communication deficiencies. They may not understand normal social cues or they
may lack the ability to express their feelings effectively to others. Second,
children with autism spectrum disorders may not understand that others have
their own unique thoughts and feelings which limits the chance of a mutual friendship.
Third, it is common for individuals with this disability to have restricted interests,
so they may be reluctant to discover new play patterns with peers. Finally, children
may exclude peers with autism spectrum disorders because they might not know
how to successfully engage in play with them (Locke, Sjih, Kretzmann
&Kasari, 2016).

Recess
is a time of the school day, where children have the freedom to choose whom
they play with and what they do. For most children, recess is a free time and environment
when they can practice essential social skills with peers. One of the
challenges for children who are having difficulty with peer relationships at
school is the extent to which adults provide interventions to help them during
this time. Often teachers and parents have limited knowledge of what happens
during recess. Teaching assistants rather than teachers often supervise recess,
and parents are not present at school (O’Hara & Hall, 2014).

The
literature has constantly shown that the majority of children with autism
experience inferior quality social outcomes in schools compared to children
without autism. Children with autism often report having few friends and are disengaged
from the social scene at school. Many studies of children with autism on school
playgrounds find they are often unengaged and isolated. It is normal for children to
spend a part of recess completing solitary actions such as getting a drink,
using the bathroom, or relaxing from school stressors. However, the amount of
time children with autism spend in solitary should be closely monitored to
determine why they are unengaged. There is possibility that some children with autism
choose to spend their recess alone, while many children with autism have reported
that they want friends and do not desire to be alone (Locke et al.,
2016).