Imitation for Play Occupation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Key Findings

For interventions targeting play were effective for children with an autism spectrum disorder. Imitating the child was found to be more effective than modeling and contingent play in this group for play creativity and duration.


Kuhaneck, H., Spitzer, S. L., & Bodison, S. C. (2020). A systematic review of interventions to improve the occupation of play in children with autism. OTJR: occupation, participation and health40(2), 83-98.


More EBP

ConditionAutism Spectrum Disorder
VariablesPlay outcomes, creativity, duration
EvidenceGreen – Go
  • Green evidence (Go) –  high-quality evidence indicating effectiveness.
  • Yellow evidence (Caution/Measure) – insufficient evidence exists.
  • Red evidence (Stop) – high-quality evidence indicating ineffectiveness.



Before implementing any new intervention with a client, occupational therapy practitioners should be aware of the potential benefits, risks, and harms of the intervention. Occupational therapy practitioners should exercise professional reasoning based on the client’s particular strengths and limitations before providing any intervention. Professional reasoning and judgment is also required when choosing which intervention protocols are feasible for their clients.

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