Impact of the Learn to Play program on play, social competence and language for children aged 5 - 8 years who attend a specialist school

Stagnitti, Karen, O'Connor, Chloe and Sheppard, Loretta 2012, Impact of the Learn to Play program on play, social competence and language for children aged 5 - 8 years who attend a specialist school, Australian occupational therapy journal, vol. 59, no. 4, pp. 302-311.

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Title Impact of the Learn to Play program on play, social competence and language for children aged 5 - 8 years who attend a specialist school
Author(s) Stagnitti, Karen
O'Connor, Chloe
Sheppard, Loretta
Journal name Australian occupational therapy journal
Volume number 59
Issue number 4
Start page 302
End page 311
Total pages 10
Publisher Wiley - Blackwell Publishing Asia
Place of publication Richmond, Vic.
Publication date 2012-08
ISSN 0045-0766
1440-1630
Keyword(s) autism
developmental disability
intervention
pretend play
Summary Introduction
The aim of this study was to investigate the change in the relationship between play, language and social skills of children aged 5–8 years pre and post participation in the ‘Learn to Play’ program. The Learn to Play program is a child led play based intervention aimed at developing self-initiated pretend play skills in children.

Methods
All 19 participants attended a specialist school, with 10 of the 19 children having a diagnosis of autism. The play, language and social skills of the children were assessed at baseline and at follow up. Children were assessed using the Child-Initiated Pretend Play Assessment, the Preschool Language Scale and the Penn Interactive Peer Play Scale. Follow up data collection occurred after the children had been participating in the Learn to Play program for 1 hour twice a week for 6 months.

Results
After 6 months in the program, typical indicators of play accounted for an increase of 47.3% in shared variance with social interaction and an increase of 36% in shared variance for social connection. For language, object substitution ability accounted for 50% of the shared variance, which was an increase of 27% from baseline.

Conclusion
The ‘Learn to Play’ program was associated with increases in children's language and social skills over a 6-month period within a special school setting, indicating the Learn to Play program is an effective intervention for children with developmental disabilities. This paper presents an example of how the Learn to Play program can be adapted into a classroom setting.
Language eng
Field of Research 111403 Paediatrics
Socio Economic Objective 920501 Child Health
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30050143

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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