, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 97-107

The relationship of play behavior to cognitive ability in developmentally disabled preschoolers

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Abstract

The relationship of play behavior to cognitive functioning in preschool developmentally disabled children was studied by comparing performance on Lowe and Costello's Symbolic Play Test (SPT) with that on the Bayley Scales and Stanford-Binet Scale. Subjects were 247 children referred for evaluation to a hospital-based child development clinic. Subjects were classified as midley retarded, moderately retarded, atypical, borderline, and language disordered. Correlations between the Bayley/Binet and SPT for the whole sample were significant and in the low to moderate range. Correlations between cognitive and play measures for each clinical group were in the low to moderate range, except for atypical children where the correlations were negligible. The retarded and borderline groups achieved similar mental ages on the Bayley/Binet and SPT but the language-disordered and atypical groups demonstrated marked differences in their Bayley/Binet and SPT functioning. Implications for using the SPT in clinical practive were discussed.

We thank Maxine Field, Nancy Fox, Jean Fridy, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Also, we are grateful to Paul Crits-Christoph for his statistical consultation.