Playing on the Autism Spectrum
As is the act itself, play is a rich and versatile construct. It can refer to the solitary behavior of a child and, as such, can provide a window into her ¢eeting interests as well as her compelling passions. As a shared activity, play can provide insight into the rules of social engagement as well as the common interests of a group of children. From a developmental life span perspective, play is a lens through which the di®erent facets of growth and change-cognitive, moral, social, creative, and spiritual-can be observed and evaluated. On an even larger scale, play is an anthropological marker, a means of understanding the rules, roles, and beliefs of an entire people at either a point in time or across time.