Meagan Adley, Psy.D., is a 2016 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Kathi Borden, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • William Slammon, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Gina Pasquale, Psy.D., Committee Member


autism spectrum disorder, ASD, autism spectrum disorders, ASDs, symbolic play, sandplay, play intervention, novice players, expert payers, play act, pretend play, severity of autism spectrum disorder

Document Type


Publication Date



This manuscript describes an exploratory study that assessed whether play with typically developing peers increased the use of symbolic play in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A version of a sandplay intervention previously investigated by Lu, Petersen, Lacroix, and Rousseau (2010), and modified to include peer-mediated play was used. The intervention explored the effects of sandplay with typically developing peers on engagement in symbolic play by children with ASD. A multiple-case intervention design was used with three children with ASD with varying degrees of severity in functioning. While use of symbolic play by two of the children did increase from baseline with the introduction of the peer-mediated sandplay intervention, these effects were inconsistent. Furthermore, only one of the children demonstrated a continued increase in symbolic play at the follow-up phase. While the results of the intervention are inconclusive, these results necessitate further investigation into this method of intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder, specifically in regard to ASD severity. Theoretical and treatment implications are offered, as well as directions for future research.


Meagan Adley

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-7502-9444