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## Background ## Autistic play is almost always described in comparison to neurotypical play, and often noted as solitary or limited (Gilmore et al, 2020). Frequently, the focus is on linking the elements of play that can be lacking (e.g. symbolic play or social pretend play) to psychological theories of autism (Kossyvaki & Papoudi, 2016). Characteristics of autistic play are often noted by clinicians for the purpose of diagnosis or intervention (Gibson et al 2011). Whilst it is logical to support the development of these play skills, as they provide a key context for the development of communication and collaboration skills (Siraj-Blatchford, 2009), many assessment and intervention tools within autism rely on a neurotypical interpretation of observed behaviours (Glynne-Own, 2010). We therefore propose a study of autistic play experiences from a phenomenological perspective as precursor to research tailored towards theory building and development.
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