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Eat Disord. 2012;20(3):254-9. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2012.668488.

Come play with me: an argument to link autism spectrum disorders and anorexia nervosa through early childhood pretend play.

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  • 1School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria 3220, Australia.


This article builds on the argument of a link between behaviours observed in persons with autism spectrum disorders and persons with anorexia nervosa. In describing these behaviours, a link is made between deficits in social cognition, lack of flexible and creative thinking, theory of mind, and deficits in early pretend play ability. Early pretend play ability is a strong avenue to the development and strengthening of social cognition, problem solving, language, logical sequential thought, and understanding social situations. Currently, there is no literature on the pretend play ability of persons who develop anorexia nervosa. This article argues for research into this area which may potentially contribute to developments in new intervention strategies for these persons.

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