Social constructivism and play of children with autism for inclusive early childhood
It has been more than two decades since Mallory & New (1994) proposed the use of Lev Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory as a framework for inclusive practices in early childhood education. This article relates part of a research on the play interactions of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) within an inclusive early childhood school to the elements of sociocultural theory. Direct observation within the natural play settings of nine children with ASD between two- to five-years old was used to gather data for this study. Interactions within the indoor and outdoor play routines of children with ASD with their peers and educators were observed and recorded for two weeks. The anecdotes of the play interactions derived from the recordings were coded into five play categories to determine how routines for play reflect the interactions experienced by children with ASD. The aim of this article is to provide documentations of the play interactions of children with ASD within their natural educational settings and examine how the elements of social constructivism as a theoretical framework for inclusive practice are reflected. In line with the writings of Mallory, this paper intends to demonstrate how a theoretical framework could guide educational practices.
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