Play with objects in young males with fragile X syndrome: A preliminary study

Andrea McDuffie, Ashley Oakes, Wendy Machalicek, Angela Thurman, Stephanie Summers, Alex Stewart, Leonard J Abbeduto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Using the Developmental Play Assessment, this preliminary study described the categories and levels of play with objects produced by 10 young boys with diagnoses of full mutation fragile X syndrome, the leading inherited cause of intellectual disability. Additionally, the study examined concurrent associations between child characteristics and three different summary level variables representing object play skills. Presentation Combinations (i.e., recreating structured configurations of objects) was the highest play level emerging or mastered for all participants. The number of toys touched during the play sample, an index of object interest, was positively related to standardized measures of receptive and expressive language while the number of different actions produced, an index of play diversity, was negatively related to autism symptom severity. Both variables were significantly related to the number of nonverbal communication acts children produced while interacting with their mothers in play. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed. Learning outcomes: Readers will be able to: (1) define a framework for categorizing developmental levels of play; (2) discuss the constructs represented by three different summary level metrics of play with objects; (3) describe the relationship between object-play skills and child characteristics for young males with FXS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-29
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Developmental disabilities
  • Fragile x syndrome
  • Language disorders
  • Play

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • LPN and LVN


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