Regression in Conditions of Play Activity in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders



The study of regression in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is of particular importance, since it gets us closer to understanding some of the key mechanisms of ASD and makes it possible to operationalize the «penetrating» nature of this developmental disorder. The research uses the model of play behavior to study regressive episodes, which are associated with digression in the level of regulation by meanings and in deliberate organization of play behavior. The purpose of this study is to identify the factors and conditions that cause regressive behavior in children with ASD. Participants: preschool children (5—7 years old) — 18 children with ASD (4 girls and 14 boys) and 18 controls (5 girls and 13 boys). For the purposes of the research a role-playing game had been developed. The game consisted of four stages, in each stage a specific task was assigned to the child. Based on the results of the study a number of factors were revealed that provoke regressive behaviors and affect their number, among them: adoption of innovations, task switching, exhaustion, sensitivity to emotional stress.

General Information

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder, regression, preschool age, role-playing game, regulation by meanings

Journal rubric: Empirical Researches

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Turevskaya R.A., Bannikova I.M. Regression in Conditions of Play Activity in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2016. Vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 64–79. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2016240105. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Klinicheskaya psikhologiya: v 4 t. T 2. Chastnaya patopsikhologiya [Clinical Psy- chology in 4 vol. Vol. 2. Partial pathopsychology]. In. A.B. Kholmogorova [et al.]. 2-e izd., ster. Moscow: Izdatel’skii tsentr «Akademiya», 2013. 432 p.
  2. Lebedinskaya K.S., Nikol’skaya O.S. Diagnostika rannego detskogo autizma: Nach. proyavleniya [Diagnosis of infantile autism: The initial manifestations]. Moscow: Prosveshchenie, 1991. 53 p.
  3. Mesh E., Vol’f D. Detskaya patopsikhologiya. Narushenie psikhiki rebenka [Chil- dren pathopsychology. Violation of the child’s psyche]. St. Petersburg: Praim-EV- ROZNAK, 2003. 384 p. (In Russ.).
  4. Nikol’skaya O.S. Affektivnaya sfera cheloveka kak sistema smyslov, organizuyush- chikh soznanie i povedenie [The affective sphere of man as a system of meanings, organizing consciousness and behavior]. Moscow: MGPPU, 2008. 464 p.
  5. Simashkova N.V. Atipichnyi autizm v detskom vozraste: Avtoref. diss. dokt. med. nauk [Atypical autism in children. Dr. Sci. (Medicine) Thesis]. M., 2006. 44 р.
  6. Turevskaya R.A., Zhigeu E.I. Osobennosti smyslovoi pererabotki emotsional’noi informatsii v norme i patologii [Features of semantic processing of emotional in- formation in health and disease]. Vestnik slavyanskogo universiteta [Journal Gazette Slavic University Chisinau], 2003, no. 10, p. 21—33.
  7. Freid A. Regressiya kak printsip normal’nogo razvitiya [Regression as the princi- ple of normal development]. Teoriya i praktika detskogo psikhoanaliza. T.2 [Theory and practice of child psychoanalysis. Vol. 2]. Moscow: Aprel’-Press, EKSMO-Press, 1999, 400 p. (In Russ.).
  8. Thomas M.S., Knowland V.C., Karmiloff-Smith A. Mechanisms of developmen- tal regression in autism and the broader phenotype: a neural network modeling approach. Psychological review, 2011. Vol. 118, no. 4, pp. 637—654. doi: 10.1037/ a0025234
  9. Regression, developmental trajectory and associated problems in disorders in the autism spectrum: the SNAP study / Baird G. et al. Journal of autism and develop- mental disorders, 2008. Vol. 38, no. 10, pp. 1827—1836. doi: 10.1007/s10803-008- 0571-9

Information About the Authors

Rita A. Turevskaya, PhD in Psychology, PhD Рrofessor, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Irina M. Bannikova, PhD student, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Psychologist, Psychological and Pedagogical Center of Education Depatment, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



Total: 3326
Previous month: 9
Current month: 16


Total: 1084
Previous month: 6
Current month: 2