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How Does Free-Play Activity Choice Predict Academic and Social Competence of Preschool Children with Developmental Delay...

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0045043/00001

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Title: How Does Free-Play Activity Choice Predict Academic and Social Competence of Preschool Children with Developmental Delay and Preschool Children Without Disabilities?
Physical Description: 1 online resource (390 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Lehman, Lee Ann
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: academic -- assessment -- developmental -- play -- preschool -- social
Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: School Psychology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of free-play activity choice during free-play in preschool on the concurrent and later academic and social competence of children with developmental delay and children without disabilities. The participants consist of children in two age cohorts, ages 4 and 5, respectively, at the start of the PEELS study in 2003-2004. Among the 148 participants, 65% were male and 35% were female, 51% were White, 28% were African American or Black, 16% were Asian, and 6% were American Indian or Alaska Native. The relationship between free-play activity choice and social and academic competence was tested through regression analyses and multivariate analyses of variance. The relationship of free-play activity choice and data on social skills and problem behaviors from the Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales and the Social Skills Rating System, data on temperament, and data on achievement as measured by the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement,and data on receptive language as measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test was examined. Among children with developmental delay, free-play activity choice is related to social cooperation skills, social interaction skills, and social independence skills in preschool, externalizing and internalizing problems in preschool, and social independence skills and internalizing problems in kindergarten. Among children with developmental delay and problem behaviors, free-play activity choice is related to receptive vocabulary skills in preschool and kindergarten and applied problem solving skills in 1st grade. Among children without disabilities, free-play activity choice is related to internalizing problems in preschool, receptive vocabulary skills in kindergarten, boys’ social skills in 1st grade, and boys’ problem behaviors in 1st grade.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Lee Ann Lehman.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Oakland, Thomas D.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0045043:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0045043/00001

Material Information

Title: How Does Free-Play Activity Choice Predict Academic and Social Competence of Preschool Children with Developmental Delay and Preschool Children Without Disabilities?
Physical Description: 1 online resource (390 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Lehman, Lee Ann
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: academic -- assessment -- developmental -- play -- preschool -- social
Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: School Psychology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of free-play activity choice during free-play in preschool on the concurrent and later academic and social competence of children with developmental delay and children without disabilities. The participants consist of children in two age cohorts, ages 4 and 5, respectively, at the start of the PEELS study in 2003-2004. Among the 148 participants, 65% were male and 35% were female, 51% were White, 28% were African American or Black, 16% were Asian, and 6% were American Indian or Alaska Native. The relationship between free-play activity choice and social and academic competence was tested through regression analyses and multivariate analyses of variance. The relationship of free-play activity choice and data on social skills and problem behaviors from the Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales and the Social Skills Rating System, data on temperament, and data on achievement as measured by the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement,and data on receptive language as measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test was examined. Among children with developmental delay, free-play activity choice is related to social cooperation skills, social interaction skills, and social independence skills in preschool, externalizing and internalizing problems in preschool, and social independence skills and internalizing problems in kindergarten. Among children with developmental delay and problem behaviors, free-play activity choice is related to receptive vocabulary skills in preschool and kindergarten and applied problem solving skills in 1st grade. Among children without disabilities, free-play activity choice is related to internalizing problems in preschool, receptive vocabulary skills in kindergarten, boys’ social skills in 1st grade, and boys’ problem behaviors in 1st grade.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Lee Ann Lehman.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Oakland, Thomas D.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0045043:00001


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1 HOW DOES FREE PLAY ACTIVITY CHOICE PREDICT ACADEMIC AND SOCIAL COMPETENCE OF PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY AND PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WITHOUT DISABILITIES? By LEE ANN LEHMAN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012

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2 2012 Lee Ann Lehman

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3 To my husband, Ken, my children, Nicholas, and Michaela and my canine companions, Grace, Molly, and Lilly who sacrificed many hours of play as I worked on this project.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I thank the chair and the members of my supervisory committee who tirelessly nurtured my love for children and their need for play, my thirst for knowledge, and pursuit of excellence throughout my course of study. You have challenged me by your example and scholarship to achieve this milestone. I thank the U.S. Department of for their training, continuous support and use of the PEELS data set for this project. I thank the University of Flori and Early Childhood Studies Department for facilitating the user agreement between the NCSER and the College making this study possible.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................ ................................ ............................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 11 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 14 Importance of Play as an Intervention Activity ................................ ........................ 14 Intervention Designed to Address Risk and Protective Factors .............................. 15 Purpose ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 16 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 18 Play ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 18 Definitions of Play ................................ ................................ ............................. 18 Structure or Content of Activity ................................ ................................ ......... 18 Types and Numbers of Toys Used ................................ ................................ ... 19 Context of Play ................................ ................................ ................................ 20 Sequence of Play Themes ................................ ................................ ............... 21 The Space Used ................................ ................................ ............................... 22 Styles of Play Activity ................................ ................................ ....................... 23 Degree of Effort Invested ................................ ................................ .................. 23 Ty pes of Free Play Behaviors ................................ ................................ ................. 24 Gender, Culture and Play ................................ ................................ ....................... 25 Theoretical Perspectives of Play ................................ ................................ ............. 26 Developmental Stages of Play ................................ ................................ ................ 28 Etiology of Childhood Play Behavior ................................ ................................ ....... 29 Problems in Play and Pathology ................................ ................................ ............. 29 Role of Play in Assessment and Treatment ................................ ............................ 33 Developmental Delay ................................ ................................ .............................. 34 Definiti ons of Developmental Delay ................................ ................................ .. 34 Prevalence of Developmental Delay ................................ ................................ 35 Diagnosis of Developmental Disabilities ................................ ................................ 35 Play Behavior of Children with Disabilities ................................ .............................. 36 Play of Children with Down Syndrome ................................ ............................. 37 Play of Children with Mental Retardation/Intellectual Disability ........................ 38 Play of Children with Autism ................................ ................................ ............. 38 Academic Competence ................................ ................................ ........................... 40 Factors Impacting Academic Competence ................................ ............................. 41

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6 School Readiness ................................ ................................ ............................ 41 Age at School Entry ................................ ................................ .......................... 42 Gender ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 42 Temperament ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 43 Intelligence and Self Concept ................................ ................................ ........... 45 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ................................ ............................ 45 Environmental Influences ................................ ................................ ................. 4 8 Emotional and Social Skills ................................ ................................ .............. 49 Relationship of Play and Academic Competence ................................ ................... 50 Social Competence ................................ ................................ ................................ 52 Factors Impacting Social Competence ................................ ............................. 53 Resilience ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 55 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ................................ ............................ 57 Relationship of Play and Social Competence ................................ ......................... 60 Early Intervention for Developmental Delay ................................ ............................ 62 Significance of Early Intervention ................................ ................................ ............ 63 Early Intervention for Social Competence ................................ ............................... 64 Evaluation of Risk and Protective Factors ................................ ........................ 65 Interventions Need to Target More Than One Risk Factor. .............................. 65 Behavioral and Academic Interventions ................................ ................................ .. 66 Preschool Programs ................................ ................................ ............................... 66 Play As the Context for Intervention ................................ ................................ ....... 69 Play Interventions ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 69 Role of th e Teacher in Play Based Curriculum ................................ ....................... 70 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 71 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 72 Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 73 Significance of th is Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 75 3 METHOD ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 85 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 85 Participant Descriptive Information ................................ ................................ ......... 86 Sample Design ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 87 Instrumentation ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 88 Statistical Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 89 Multiple Regression Models: ................................ ................................ ............ 92 Independent Variables: ................................ ................................ .................... 94 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 104 Frequency of Free Play Activity Choice ................................ ................................ 104 Disability ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 104 Chronological Ag e ................................ ................................ .......................... 105 Free Play Activity Choice and Available Activities ................................ ................ 108 Chronological Age ................................ ................................ .......................... 108 Disability ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 109

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7 Free play Activi ty Choice and Social Skills ................................ ........................... 113 Disability ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 114 Chronological Age ................................ ................................ .......................... 115 Free Play Activity Choice and Problem Behavior ................................ ................. 119 Disability ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 119 Chronological Age ................................ ................................ .......................... 120 Disability, Problem Behavior, and Social and Academic Competence ................. 123 Free Play Activity Choice and Temperament of Preschool Children .................... 124 Disability ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 124 Problem Behavior s ................................ ................................ ......................... 124 Free Play Activity Choice and Academic Competence ................................ ......... 126 Disability ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 126 Chronological Ag e ................................ ................................ .......................... 127 Problem Behaviors ................................ ................................ ......................... 128 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 150 The Value of Play ................................ ................................ ................................ 150 Free Play Activity Choice ................................ ................................ ...................... 151 Developmental Delay ................................ ................................ ............................ 151 Factors Influencing Academic Competence ................................ .......................... 152 Family Income, Race and Gender ................................ ................................ ........ 153 Social and Academic Competence ................................ ................................ ....... 154 Problem Behaviors and Academic/Social Competence ................................ ........ 154 Temperament and Academic Competence ................................ ........................... 155 Free Play Activity Choice and Academic Competence ................................ ......... 156 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 157 Implications for Practice ................................ ................................ ........................ 159 Play Behavior Assessment ................................ ................................ ................... 161 Preschool Special Education ................................ ................................ ................ 164 Implications for Future Research ................................ ................................ .......... 164 APPENDIX A DEFINITION OF TERMS ................................ ................................ ...................... 168 B PRINCIPLES FOR DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE PRACTICE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS (NAEYC, 2009) ................................ ......................... 171 C UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA INTERNAL REVIEW BOARD PERMISSION TO CONDUCT RESEARCH ................................ ................................ ....................... 172 D NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATIONAL STATISTICS RESEARCH DATA USE ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 173 E PEELS EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRE .............................. 189 F PEELS KINDERGARTEN TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRE ................................ .... 216

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8 G PEELS ELEMENTARY TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRE ................................ ........ 247 H PEELS COMPUTER ASSISTED TELEPHONE INTERVIEW PARENT QUESTIONNAIRE (SECTIONS RELEVANT TO THE CURRENT STUDY) ......... 275 I DESCRIPTIONS OF ASSESSMENTS USED IN THE PEELS STUDY AND CURRENT STUDY ................................ ................................ ............................... 366 J PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN BEHAVIOR SCALES, SECOND EDITION SUMMARY/RESPONSE FORM ................................ ................................ ........... 369 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 373 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 389

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9 LIST OF TABLES Table Page 2 1 Examples of Play Definitions from 1962 to 2000 ................................ .......... 77 2 2 Developmental Characteristics of Play (Butler, Gotts, & Quisenberry, 1978; Garvey, 1990; Howes, 1992; Goncu, 1993; Bjorklund, 2005; Nash & Schaefer, 2010) ................................ ................................ ............................ 78 2 3 Developmental and Behavioral Disorders ................................ .................... 79 2 4 Risk Variables in Domains of the Social Ecology in the Philadelphia Study (Clark Stewart & Dunn, p.59) ................................ ................................ ........ 80 2 5 Summary of Child Directed Interaction Skills and Rationales for their Use with Developmentally Delayed Children ................................ ....................... 81 2 6 Child Directed Interaction Toys (McElreath & Eisenstadt,1997) ................... 82 3 1 Definition of age cohorts in PEELS study and current study ........................ 99 3 2 Number of children in the PEELS study and the current study (CS) by gender ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 99 3 3 Race of ch ildren in the PEELS study and the current study (CS) by cohort 99 3 4 Number of children in the PEELS study and the current study (CS) sample by household income and cohort ................................ ................................ 100 3 5 Number of children in the PEELS study and the current study (CS) with developmental delay and without disabilities ................................ .............. 101 3 6 Table of Normative Measu res ................................ ................................ ..... 101 3 7 Total number of respondents for each PEELS instrument .......................... 102 3 8 Child Measures ................................ ................................ ........................... 103 4 1 Most Frequent Activity Choice of Four Year Old Children .......................... 134 4 2 Most Frequent Activity Choice of Five Year Old Children ........................... 134 4 3 Time Spent in Child Selected A ctivities and Type of Class ........................ 135 4 4 Number of Children with Activity Available in the Classroom ..................... 136 4 5 Free Play Activity Choice and Social Skills of Children with Developmental Delay (DD) and Without Disabilities ................................ ............................ 138

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10 4 6 Free Play Activity Choice and Social Skills of Four and Five Year Olds .... 139 4 7 Free Play Activity Choice and Problem Behaviors of Children With Developmental Delay (DD) and Without Disabilities ................................ ... 14 0 4 8 Free Play Activity Choice and Problem Behaviors of Four and Five Year Olds ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 141 4 9 Free Play Activity Choice and Temperament Children with Developmental Delay and Children without Disabilities ................................ ....................... 142 4 10 Free Play Activity Choice and Temperament Children with Problem Behaviors ( M > 115.00) and without Problem Behaviors ( M < 85.00) ........ 143 4 11 Free Play Activity Choice and Academic Competence of Children with Developmental Delay/Without Disabilities or With Problem Behaviors/Without Problem Beh aviors ................................ ................................ ..................... 144 4 12 Free Play Activity Choice and Academic Competence of Children with Developmental Delay/Without Disabilities ................................ .................. 145 4 13 Free Play Activity Choice and Academic Competence of Children with Developmental Delay/Without Disabilities and With/Without Problem Behaviors ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 146 4 14 Free Play Activity Choice and Academic Competence of Children With/Without Problem Behaviors ................................ ................................ 147 5 1 Basic Toys (Oppenheim, 1984) ................................ ................................ .. 166 5 2 Toys and materials that should be available for 4 5 year old free play in home and childcare settings ................................ ................................ ....... 167

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11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 The Pyramid ................................ ................................ ................................ 84 2 2 Risk Factors C ontributing to Cognitive and Social Emotional Competence 83 4 1 Most Frequent Activity Choice By All Children in the Current Study ........... 148 4 2 Most Frequent Activity Choice of Children With Developmental Delay ....... 148 4 3 Most Frequent of Activity Choice of Children Without Disabilities ............... 149

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12 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy HOW DOES FREE PLAY ACTIVITY CHOICE PREDICT ACADEMIC AND SOCIAL COMPETENCE OF PRES CHOOL CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY AND PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WITHOUT DISABILITIES? By Lee Ann Lehman December 2012 Chair : Thomas D. Oakland Major : School Psychol ogy The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of free play activity choice during free play in preschool on the concurren t and later academic and social competence of children with developmental delay and children without disabilities. The participants consist of children in two age cohorts, ages 4 a nd 5, respectively, at the start of the PEELS study in 2003 2004. Among the 148 participants, 65% were male and 35% were female, 51% were White, 28% were African American or Black, 16% were Asian, and 6% were American Indian or Alaska Native. The relations hip between free play activity choice and social and academic competence was tested through regression analyses and multivariate analysis of variance T he relationship between free play activity choice and data on social skills and problem behaviors from t he Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales and the Social Skills Rating System data on temperament, and data on achievement as measured by the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement and data on receptive language as measured by the P eabody Picture Voca bulary Test was examined

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13 Among children with developmental delay, free play activity choice among preschool ers is related to social cooperation skills, social interaction skills, and social independence skills externalizing and internalizing problems in preschool and social indep endence skills and internalizing problems in kindergarten. Among children with developmental delay and problem behaviors, free play activity choice during preschool is related to receptive vocabulary skills in preschool and ki nd ergarten and applied problem solving skills in 1 st grade. Among children without disabilities, free play activity choice during preschool is related to internalizing problems in preschool, receptive 1 st behaviors in 1 st grade. The results from this study may aid early childhood educators and centers by recommending the provision of developmentally appropriate play materials and activities, and alternative academic outcome me asures for preschool children with developmental delay. The results from this study may extend our knowledge of the impact of problem behaviors exhibited by children with developmental delay or those at risk of developmental delay, and extend our knowledge of play assessment and play intervention.

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14 CHAPTER 1 I NTRODUCTION Importance of Play as a n Intervention Activity The importance of play as a context for intervention has been strongly supported. Play is considered a primary activity in which young children naturally learn and practice emerging skills (Casby, 2003; Morrison, Sainato, Benchaaban, & Endo, 2002). For example, play p rovides the context in which a communicative, and behavioral competencies are developed and become integrated and refined. Although cognitive, speech, and language delays often seem to be the most salient concerns for many parents of young children who display disabilities, deficits and delays in soc ial skills also constitute concerns and may become a focus for interventions. Intervention models to promote social skills training have been developed. For example, the Learning Experiences: An Alternative Program for Preschoolers and Parents (LEAP) model for preschoolers with autism (Strain & Hoyson, 2000) exemplifies this focus. Alternatively, discrete trial methods can be integrated in ongoing classroom activities to promote child engagement (McBride & Schwartz, 2003). Considerable scholarship discusse s the successful inclusion of high quality classroom practices, including those that combine developmentally appropriate Sinner, & Grant, 200 1). However, scholarship on p lay activities of young children who display developmental delays is meager. Increased scholarship on this topic could inform practice by helping interventionist s understand more fully how impairments in young children may interfere with their normal devel opment and full inclusion in society. For example, the nonsocial play of children with delays can be characterized in a

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15 manner similar to that of typically developing children (Guralnick, Hammond, & Connor, 2003). Focused teacher behaviors or environmenta l manipulations may be applied group settings (Guralnick, 2005). Intervention Designed to Address Risk and Protective Factors biological vulnerabilities such as unpredictable temperament, low positive affect, fussy and irr itability increase their risk for normal cognitive and behavioral outcomes when children are exposed to ongoing disadvantage, including decrements in the quali ty of the caregiving environment (Jaffe, 2007). These findings are consistent with data from studies of low and middle income ns, and exploration of objects can promote chronic adversity in the home environment generally manifest more persistent impairments, there is little support for the belief that the first three years of lif e constitutes the only period for cognitive and socioemotional development (Jaffee, 2007). Effective research based interventions o ffered in preschool settings may promote academic and/or socioemotional skills in 3 5 year olds (Jitendra, 2007; Kern, 2007). Previous studies se emingly have not examined presch ool activity choice during free play in reference to their later school achievement. Research utilizing data from the Pre Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS) may help us to identify problem behaviors, social skills, and academic competence in preschool through observation of play and to develop early intervention through play.

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16 Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship of free play a ctivity choice during f ree play in preschool and the concurren t and later academic and social competence of children with developmental delay and children without disabilities This study is intended to identify the relationship of free play activity choice on aca demic and social competence across age cohort by gender and disability. The participants consist of children in two age cohorts, ages 4 and 5, respectively, at the start of the PEELS study in 2003 2004. Data from the PEELS Early Childhood Teacher Questionn aire provide information on activities during free play. Data from the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement provide information on academic competence and data from the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test pr ovide information on receptive language Data from t he PEELS Computer Assisted Telephone Interview Parent Questionnaire provide information on childre Data from the Early Childhood Teacher Questionnaire indicating the most frequent play activities cons titute the in dependent variables Data from the following s cales constitute the dependent variables: the Social Cooperation Scale, Social Interaction Scale, Social Independence Scale, Externalizing Problems Scale, and Internalizing Problems Scale ratings f rom the Preschool and Kin dergarten Behavior Scales the Social Skills Scale and the Problem Behavior Scale ratings from the So cial Skills Rating System, the Letter Word Identification, Applied Problems, and Quantitative subtests from the Woodcock Johnson I II Tests of Achievement and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test scores.

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17 The covariates of disability, age cohort, and gender are assessed in order to determine if relationships between social competence problem behaviors, and academic competence differ by disability or gender in the same or different cohort. Total household income and type of disability constitute potentially confounding variables and are controlled in this study. Multivariate regression analyses factorial MANOVA, are used to ass ess the relationship of activity choice on social competence and academic competence Data from different age cohorts in the PEELS longitudinal study are compared in order to assess for maturation effects.

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18 CHAPTER 2 LITERA TURE R EVIEW Play Play provides a natural medium for learning. Through play activities children acquire information about objects and people, practice new skills, create situations they can deal with and control, gain confidence in their own abilities, and learn to solve problems (McLoyd, 19 80; Yawkey & Pellegrini, 1984). Definitions of Play Play is defined as 1) dramatic work or performance, 2) recreation, 3) fun or jest, or 4) freedom of movement ( http://m.dicti onary.com/home ). Play generally is defined as observable behaviors occurring in describable and reproducible contexts ( McCune Nicolich, & Fenson, 1984) Play differ s from other behaviors in that it is 1) pursued for its own sake, 2) focused on means rather than ends, 3) directed toward exploring objects in order to do something with the objects, 4) not considered a serious endeavor because there is no external purpose with a required outcome 5) not governed by external rules, and 6) characterized by active engagement of the player. Play also can be defined as being pleasurable, spontaneous, flexible, and a natural product of physical and cognitive growth (Garvey, 1977; Piaget, 1962). In Western societies, the definition of play has evolved from simply being a method to decrease extra energy to processes that enhance all areas of development (Ellis, 1973). Structure or Content of Activity Play also can be described by the structure or content of activities (Piaget, 1962; Smilansky, 1968). These categories include functional, exploratory, constructive, and dramatic play. Functional play involves activities that are performed for the enjoyment of

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19 the physical sensation they create. These typically involve simple and repetitiv e motor activities Exploratory ac tivity involves focused attention on an object in order to obtain information about its specific physical properties. A child engaging in exploratory behaviors may examine an object in his or her hand, look at something across the room, or listen to a soun d. Constructive play involves manipulating objects in order to construct or create something. A child engaged in constructive play may draw pictures, paint, or build with blocks. Dramatic play involves an element of pretense and includes the child taking o n the role of someone else. A child engaged in dramatic play may carry out a pretend activity or attribute life to inanimate objects (Gitlin Wei ner et al., 2000). Researchers attempting to refine the definition of play generally focus on one or more of the following seven process variables: 1) the types and numbers of toys used, 2) the context of play, 3) the participants involved, 4) the sequences of play themes, 5) the space used, 6) the style with which the play activities are performed, and 7) the degre e of ef fort invested in the play (Gitli n Weiner, S andgrund, & Schaefer, 2000) (Table 2 1 ). Knox (1974) suggests four dimensions of the play process as important: 1) space management, 2) material management, 3) imitation, and 4) participation. Types and Nu mbers of Toys Used Children begin productive play when they use play materials simply. They construct and create things as they learn about their physical world. Around age 4, children began to use play materials in more conventional ways during reproducti ve play (Butler, et al., 1978). Through this type of play children display an understanding of social as well as physical realities. As children age, their play increasingly involves pretense (Howes, 1992). By age 5, most children can quickly set up elabor ate pretend play, making almost anything stand for almost anything else (Goncu, 1993). Children

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20 may play alone or beside others while using dolls, blocks, dishes, and other materials for social role play. Some children engage in playing dress up for a long time without proceeding to any enactment in role play. Other children display a need to wear a particular hat or cape, perhaps as a way to keep them safe in stressful situations such as in a play group or nursery school. Sensory and creative play occurs through the use of natural materials such as sand and water, mud and clay, in painting and finger painting, in singing and music, and in play with words and sounds. Physical play involves exercising new skills as children become able to run, climb, hop, da nce, swim, ride a trike, and throw, kick, and catch a ball. Physical play often is incorporated into energetic social pretend play and informal games. Exploratory play involves investigating and making use of objects and solving play problems. Context of Play Dramatic play with other children develops between ages 2 and 3. At first, associative play normally occurs, with each child involved in his/her own imaginative theme and engaged in collective monologue, although there may be a play object in common that results in some joint activity (Isaacs, 1939). At times, several children seemingly are playing together. Sociodramatic play occurs when they begin to play out roles with another child. The child increasingly gains pleasure interacting with his peers. Play Participants Involved their emotions exert an increasing role in the complexity of their play. The number of children who can be included in play at one time also exp ands. At ages 2 and 3, working out play themes with just one other child is challenging. By age 5, children

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21 often can perform three or more play themes at a time, keep track of what roles all children are playing, how their roles fit the overall theme, an d negotiate conflicts to decide together what is and is not supposed to happen next (Garvey, 1990). Experiences interacting with peers also may be important in developing play complexity (Holmberg, 1980; Howes, 1988; Mueller & Brenner, 1977). Results from these three studies suggest frequency of play group experiences is associated with more frequent and complex peer interactions among toddlers. In the Holmberg study (1980), children were observed during indoor play where they were free to choose their play activities and the opportunity to interact with teachers or peers. In the Howes study (1988), difficulty with peers was assessed through teacher ratings rather than peer ratings and reflected more frequent and complex peer interactions (Howes, 1988). In t he Mueller and Brenner study (1977), play groups were formed with previously unacquainted males, teachers were present, and play group activities did not involve free play yet frequency with play groups resulted in more frequent and complex peer interactio ns. Sequence of Play Themes Play themes begin to include movement between reality and fantasy (Nash & Schaefer, 2010). In pretend play, themes emerge concerned with the various roles that people play outside as well as inside the family. These themes occur in solitary play and increasingly become more frequent in social p lay with parents, siblings, childr en outside the family, and children of a similar age in a playgroup or nursery. Peller (1964) suggests that fantasy may be social in its origin (e.g. sever al children putting their heads together) and usually is social by way of content, dealing with several people in various roles. The implementation of play may be either solitary or social ; however, contact

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22 betw een co players is imprecise. A fantasy may be come lost, with players never realizing the difference (Peller, 1964). The use of symbolism in pretend play becomes elaborate as invented people and theme. A theme may be susta ined, with children changing themes rapidly as their thoughts go off on a tangent as they play. For example, a child may say she is a mother bathing a baby, holding a doll in a box full of imaginary water and using a brick for soap. Moments later the box i s a table and the brick is food for her family. By playing the roles of others, children start to understand how others may feel and enable them to acquire a better idea of themselves and their own role and identity in the family. Children engaged in both solitary and shared pretend play can express their feelings and anxieties safely. For example, some children have imaginary friends who are important as companions or scapegoats to represent their split off bad selves a s the age of guilt begins. Cooperativ e pretend play usually begins with domestic themes in which the players take different f amily roles Packing, going on a trip or holiday, repairing and telephoning are common, along with treating and healing (Garvey, 1977). The Space Used Play is assimil ative as children make sense of the events in their lives. For example, two boys who recently moved to a new house spent all morning shifting the entire contents of the play group home to the far side of the room. Children often construct dens with any ava ilable materials, disappearing inside to pretend or giggle together.

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23 Styles of Play Activity Practice Play. Sensorimotor forms of play occur early, in infancy until about age two. These forms are sometimes called practice play because children repeat acti ons without any reference to any recognizable outcome (Butl er, Gotts, & Quisenberry, 1978). Children at this stage of play explore and engage in simple motoric actions, imitate them, and repeat them. They explore with all their senses and gain pleasure thr ough their actions. Children who display developmental delays generally display more of this play than those who do not display delays (Yawkey, Dank, & Glosenger, 1986). Make B elieve Play At about age two children move away from simple repetitive motori c action and begin to use simple play materials to satisfy their own purposes. This stage is characterized by make believe play. Children pretend and engage in dramatic and sociodramatic play. They move from solitary play to social role play in which they can cooperate with several other children. As children move through this play stage, their fine motor and gross motor coordination improves, language development is rapid, social skills increase, and the basis of critical and divergent thinking emerge. De gree of Effort Invested Compared to children who do not engage in socio dramatic play ( e.g enactments of familiar everyday themes), those who do generally have more developed language and social skills together with more empathy, imagination, and a subtle capacity to infer what others mean. These engaged children also are less aggressive and display more self control and higher levels of thinking (Miller & Almon, 2009). This study focuses less on functional play and more on exploratory, constructive, and d ramatic play of children during child directed free play within the preschool setting

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24 the developmental age of some study participants, functional play is included. Viewed through the lens of Gitlin Weiner and Sandgrund, and Schaefer focuses on two of the seven process variables: types and numbers of toys used and the context of play. Types of Free Play Behaviors Free play behavior can be either child directed or adult directed, social or nonsocial. Preschool children normally engage in both social and nonsocial free play behaviors. The social participatory component of play was observed and studied by Parten (1932). She observed the social and nonsocial interactions of preschool children in nursery school settings over a nine month period. Observations were made while children were i n a group free play context both indoors and outdoors. Parten derived five categories of social participation: unoccupied, onlooker, solitary, parallel, and group. Unoccupied behavior is characterized by a marked absence of focus or intent. The unoccupied child is not playing and instead may stare blankly into space or wander around aimlessly. The onlooking child watches the activities of others and does not attempt to enter into the activities. Onlooking behavior differs from unoccupied behavior in that onlooking behaviors involve the observation of another child or group of children and unoccupied behavior does not. Solitary play occurs when the child plays apart from the other children at a distance greater than three feet. The child plays alone and in dependently with toys that

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25 differ from those used by the children within speaking distance. The child is focused on his or her own activity and pays little or no attention to any of the children in the area. Parallel play occurs when a child plays indepen dently next to yet not with other children. The activity often brings the child within three feet of other children. While engaging in his or her own activities, the child is aware of the other children and may refer to their play. Group play occurs when a child interacts with other children. The activity has a supplemented by those of others (i.e. division of labor). This study addresses both the nonsocial and social child directed free play activity choice of children with and without disabilities. It does not address social participation within play activities. Gender, Culture and Play Body identity and sexual differences are reflected in play constructions (Erikson 1950). Boys tend to build towers and to make models that mo ve and perform an activity In contrast, girls tend to create quieter scenes, typically an enclosure with an entrance. s available he skills a child had developed. Both boys and girls become involved in domestic play cause this role is les s known Roles are less differentiated during informal games of running chasing or hiding, although there may be a leader and followers. These games are played mostly by boys and often have symbolic themes such as monsters, cowboys and Indians, Batman, S uperman, the A Team, and Mutant Ninja Turtles. The underlying game is the same, a

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26 mutual fantasy, often to do with preventing threat (e.g. killing the monster or putting out a fire). The activity may reflect the need to feel autonomy and control at an age when boys are establishing sex role identification yet lack power in their own families (McMahon, 1992). Crowe (1973) exemplifies the beginning of coordination in her description of two children from different social backgrounds playing in a playgroup. The boy announces, Theoretical Perspectives of Play Psychoanalytic Perspective. rts focused on psychosexual development encouraged the scientific community to focus attention on early childhood development and child behavior as a way to understand the de velopment of adult personality. Through his analysis of his early cases, such as Little Hans originally reported in 1909 Freud (1950) broadened our understanding of Freud expanded these ideas by describing play as a specific means of mastery. see that children repeat in their play everything that has made a great impression on them in act (1955, 1960), Anna Freud (1946, 1966), and others, play and play materials became incorporated into the effective therapeutic treatment with children. Psychosocial Perspective Using his theory of psychosocial development as a foundation, Erikson described play as an expression of a combination of forces,

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27 including individual development, family dynamics, and cultural expectations. He proposed that, in order to evaluate play, t he observer must have an idea of what the children of a given age in a given community are apt to play; only then can the observer decide whether the unique meaning of the play surpasses the common meaning. An understanding of the un ique meaning of play r equires careful observation of the became the royal road to the unconscious in c hildren. He believed that only during play flowing fantasy to blossom in a manner similar to that attributed by Freud to the concept of dreams. Developmental Perspective From the 1930s until the 1960s, d evelopmentalists ive observations of his own children as a basis, Piaget (1952) formulated a complex system of classifying play and games by stages of development. He suggested that changes in play reflected intellectual development as well as increased general competence. Play also provided opportunity for children to practice what they already had learned. Piaget supported the use of play as an important way in which professionals can understand children intimately. He suggested that conversations with children were more productive when they were related to activities involving concrete materials and when children were talking about play actions just performed (Piaget 1952).

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28 This study borrows from the developmental perspective that changes in play reflect academic and so cial competence and examines the gender and cultural influences on activity choice during child directed free play in the preschool setting. Recommendations pertaining to assessment and treatment discussed later in the study borrow from the psychosocial (i .e. observe what the children of a given age in a given community are apt to play and decide whether the unique meaning of the play surpasses the common meaning of the play ) overt behaviors reflect unconscious concer ns and conflicts ; children repeat in their play everything that has made a great impression on them in actual life ) perspectives in addition to the developmental perspective. Developmental Stages of Play Piaget (1962) devised a theory to explain the origin s and development of play in children that relates play to the development of thinking and knowing. He also noted the cognitive aspects of social and emotional growth resulting from play. Children progress through specific stages, ranging from sensorimoto r practice play to symbolic play to highly complex social games with rules. Play during infancy involves joint attention and imitation; play during toddlerhood involves sustained attention, intentionality or goal directed behavior (Bjorklund 2005). Childr en ages 2 to 6 years move from a skills expand dramatically as they move from infancy (i.e. ages 0 to 24 months) through toddlerhood, and into the preschool years (i.e. ages 3 to 5 years). Children progress from parallel play around age 3 to more cooperative and social play at age 4. Children with intellectual, motor, language, perceptual motor, and social delays move through

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29 these same stages yet at a slower rate and pa ce (Yawkey, Dank, & Glosenger, 1986) ( Table 2 2) Etiology of C hildhood P lay B ehavior What children learn as infants and toddlers helps establish a set of abilities, orientations, and expectations about how things and people will behave as well as beliefs and feelings that affect how they select and process new experiences. Infants who learn to engage their parents in play and manipulate objects to do what they want them to do believe in their ability to affect the world around them. Toddlers who learn tha t they can depend on people for comfort and that people will help them when they are distressed are more likely to approach others with empathy and trust than toddlers who have had their worries and fears dismissed or belittled. Preschoolers who have been cuddled by caregivers and had books read to them before going to bed are more likely to enter kindergarten with a keen interest in reading. Children who have missed the se experiences may have a difficult time recapturing them later in life. In short, a good start in life increases the odds of greater adult competence (National Research Council Institute of Medicine, 2000). Problems in Play and Pathology Play is critical children develop more cooperative and long lasting interactions; greater self regulation; increased memory development, including abstract thinking and meaning; storytelling and story memory; mor e complex cognitive skills (e.g. language and vocabulary); greater imaginative and flexible thinking; more scientific, mathematical, and social discoveries; and greater persistence (Gitlin Weiner, et al., 2000).

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30 Erikson was one of the first to highlight t he concept of play disruption. He noted that, while engaged in play, children closely approach the feelings experienced during anxiety laden events in their lives, resulting in discomfort that often results in their needing to cease play. At the time of pl ay disruption, effective defenses may ideas. Thus, play disruption can become a diagnostic marker of those issues central to unctioning (Gitlin Weiner, et al., 2000). Pathological play expresses a specific form of psychopathology that includes a range of destructive behaviors including perversions, factitious disorders, personality disorders, and eating disorders (Jureidini, 2000). Play becomes pathological when it deviates from healthy play in one or more of three characteristics: the relationship the player to the objects of play (inclu ding self and other people as well as inanimate objects). Pathological play avoids reality through a preoccupation of pretense that and sleep. During pathological play, some forms of violence may appear. Violence commonly is viewed as a hostile attack aimed at a particular victim. However, violence during play may be conceptualized as r eckless disregard for the well being of a n object or child The concept of pathological plays offers a strategy for exploring the developmental origin of poorly understood behaviors, such as personality disorder (Jureidini, 2000). For example, mothers who maltreat children are less involved with and

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31 more negative toward their children, who in turn engage in less play than their non maltreated peers (Alesssandri, 1991, 1992; Cicchetti & Lynch, 1995). Play in which maltreated children engage is likely to be t hematically and affectively constricted, less socially and cognitively complex, and more likely to show routine stereotyped use of play material. The importance of play in human development may be underestimated in child psychology and psychiatry. Jureidi ni (2000) suggests clinicians should consider the concept of pathological play in order to better understand and manage the care of concept of compensatory play came close to re flecting psychoanalytic thinking in his models of play. Compensatory play involves the child doing things normally forbidden or pretending that something has happened that has not really occurred. Such play may be a cathartic neutralization of fear or ange r or it may be a wish fulfillment. For example, a child jealous of a younger sibling may hit a doll or, in role reversal, play at being the baby. By limiting compensatory play, children facing difficult or unpleasant situations may relive and come to accep t them. For example, the child who is ill or injured may play that a doll also is ill or injured. In anticipatory play, children play out fears of the consequences of refusing to do what is expected of them. The child constantly told to be careful may have do harm. Erikson asked a number of 4 and 5 year old children to make something with blocks and toys. His observations lead him to conclude that the themes presented in these play constructions may be the repetitive working through of a traumatic

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32 experience. They also may express a playful renewal of the traumatic experience (Erikson, 197 2 ). be a direct imitation of something that has happened, this is not always true. O ne should not assume a child playing the role of a mother and hitting a doll accurately how to cope with a baby or their own anger and jealousy of a younger sibling. Preschoolers, ages 3 to 5 years, often struggle with the difficulty of separating fantasy from reality. Television shows, DVDs, video games, and stories in books may be experien ced as real events. The stories that children invent, or their imaginary fantasies reflects t heir own experience or feelings. Children do not fantasize about events that they have not experienced (Pithers, 1990). For example, although young children have sexual feelings, they cannot enact sexual behavior in play unless they have either experienced them or witnessed them whether directly or on DVD, photograph or other med indicate whether the child has actually experienced the behavior or merely witnessed it. young age. A ch ild with an imaginary companion who feels quite real to the child is as likely as any other child to be able to give an accurate description of what members of the family did this morning. However, because adults are such powerful figures, children under a ge five sometimes may agree with a suggestion an adult makes, although they

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33 usually are able to resist suggestions that go completely against their experience. On the other hand, they have not learned to evade and are likely to answer an open question with the truth as they perceive it. Role of Play in Assessment and Treatment Parton (1932) was one of the first scholars to attempt to devise a structured assessment for studying normal social development in play. The resulting assessment was divided into six categories: 1) unoccupied behavior, 2) solitary independent play, 3) onlooker behavior, 4) parallel activity, 5) associative play, and 6) cooperative play. The Parton scale has undergone a few revisions yet continues to be used in many research projects. This work became the precursor to the idea of using the assessment of play within a diagnostic format. Psychologists and psychiatrists became increasingly sophisticated in their application of play in therapeutic treatment and in their understanding of it s role in Peller (1964), Axline (1969), Moustakas (1973), and Despert (1976). The importance of play and its contributions to the intellectual, social, psychomotor, and e motional growth of children h ave been recognized during the l ast thirty years (McLoyd, 1980, Yawkey & Pellegrini, 1984). Play behaviors and patterns of functioning and social and academic comp etence ( style, adaptability, language functioning, emotional and behavioral responsiveness, social level, moral dev elopment, intellectual capacity, coping styles, problem solving techniques, and approaches to perceiving and interpreting the surrounding world.

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34 This study seeks to examine the academic, social, and emotional growth of young children based on the activity chosen most frequently during child directed free play. Characteristics to be assessed include emotional and behavioral responsiveness, social level, intellectual capacity, and to some extent, problem solving techniques. Developmental Delay Definitions o f Developmental Delay According to the 1997 I ndividuals with Disabilities Education Act and the I ndividuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 the definition of a child with a disability is a child with mental r etardation, hearing impairm ents speech or language im pairments, visual impairments serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities together with a child who needs special education a nd related services. The phrase 'child with a disability' for a child age s 3 through 9, at the discretion of the state and the local educational agency, may include a child experiencing developmental delays and need ing special education and related servic es. Developmental delays defined by the state can be in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development. The Center for Disease Control diverse group of physical, cognitive, psychological, sensory, and speech impairments classification of developmental dis abilities ranges from mild developmental delays and disorders to more serious developmental disorders such as mental retardation/intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism spectrum disorders.

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35 Further, developmental disabilities often are subdivi ded into numerous sub types, each with varying intensity of symptoms, albeit w ith considerable variation ( Table 2 3 ). Prevalence of Developmental Delay According to the Center for Disease Control, o ne in six children in the United States is diagnosed with a developmental or behavioral disability. Whether a child has a developmental delay or disorder, early identification and intervention are essential for achieving the best possible outcome. Although early identification of children with developmental prob lems such as Down syndrome or Spina bifida is an efficient and rapid process, the identification of children with less obvious delays and disabilities can be challenging for both pediatricians and parents, in part, because their nature, presence, and sever ity become obvious only gradually over time. Mental retardation/intellectual disability is the most common developmental disorder. According to the C enter for D isease C ontrol approximately one out of every 100 school children in the United States has some form of mental retardation/intellectual disability (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dd/mr3.htm). Cerebral palsy is the second most common developmental disorder, followed by autism spectrum disorders (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dd/ddcp.htm). Diagnosis of Develo pmental Disabilities Prenatal screening or the observance of problems during pregnancy may indicate the possibility of disability even before a child is born. For others, the discovery of disability occurs at or shortly after birth due to prematurity, problems with labor and delivery, or the presence of obvious impairments not detected by prena tal screening efforts. M ost parents give birth to chi ldren who they and their physician initially consider

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36 to be normal. The later discovery of the presence of disability occurs by observing the child and making sense of emerging concerns about health, development, or behavior. Pediatricians rarely use devel opmental or behavioral screening tests and instead generally prefer to rely more on surveillance of development within the context of normal health care provision. As a result, pediatricians are more likely to identify and refer children for special servic es who are 3 or more years old and those with more severe disabilities. The use of developmental or behavioral screening tests can help pediatricians identify developmental disabilities between the ages of 0 and 3 and to refer children for special services at an earlier age. This study seeks to explore the possibility of utilizing play observation as a developmental screener to assist caregivers, school personnel, and medical personnel in the identification of developmental or behavioral disabilities, and social and academic competence. D iagnostic criteria that may be observable through play include emotional and behavioral responsiveness, self regulation or social independence, problem solving ability, social cooperati on, social interaction, flexibility, p ersistence, memory, abstract thinking, l anguage vocabulary, and mathematical skills (Gitlin Weiner, et al., 2000). Play Behavior of Children with Disabilities All children play regardless of age or delay. Observations of play behaviors of children with disabilities may shed light on the nature of the disabilities. Knowledge as to whether exploratory and representational abilities are specifically impaired as a result of a developmental disorder may be important since exploratory (i.e. obtaining visual or auditory information about the physical properties of a n object) and representational (i.e. using familiar objects in appropriate ways to represent their world) c ompetencies vary across development al disabilities. Moreover, children with higher levels of severity

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37 of disabilities have limited capacities to express themselves verbally. Play observations often provide more information than would be possible with sole reliance on verbal exchange. Finally, play observations may be of use when differentiating t wo or more diagnostic conditions (Sigman & Sena, 1993). The nonsocial play of young children with and without developmental delays in a playgroup setting was investigated (Guralnick, Hannond, & Connor, 2003). The nonsocial play of children with delays was found to be similar to that of typically developing children Guralnick (2005) suggests that teacher interventions or environmental manipulations can be applied strategically in a playgroup of children with articipation in the group is limited by specific peer interaction patterns (Guralnick, 2005). Children who display developmental delay will exert lower forms of symbolic play (i.e. representational competence) than those who do not display delays (Yawkey, Dank, & Glosenger, 1986). Play of Children with Down Syndrome Exploratory competence appears to be deficient in children with Down syndrome compared to normal control children matched on chronological or mental age (Vietze et al., 1983). Children with Do wn syndrome spend more time involved in visual exploration and less time involved in manual exploration of objects. Additionally, children with Down syndrome play with toys less than do other children with and without developmental delays (Brooks Gunn & Le wis, 1982; Krakow & Kopp, 1983). Thus, these results point to either a deficiency in exploratory competence or a lack of interest in object mastery (Ruskin, Mundy, Kasari, & Sigman, 1992). Representational competence abilities in children with Down syndr ome appear to be commensurate with their general cognitive level (Baron Cohen, 1987; Beeghly,

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38 Perry, & Cicchetti, 1989; Hill & McCune Nicolich, 1981; Motti, Cicchetti, & Sroufe, 1983). However, some differences exist in the representational play of childre n with Down syndrome when compared to mental age matched controls. The symbolic play of children with Down syndrome was compared to mental age matched controls and found to have lower average scores on play scales, possibly because these children tended to repeat the same schemes more often than did children without mental retardation (Weiss, Beeghly, & Cicchetti, 1985). This perseveration may suggest a disorder in the ways in which children focus on or manipulate objects rather than a disorder in represent ational understanding. Play of Children with Mental Retardation/Intellectual Disability Children diagnosed with mental retardation without Down syndrome display exploratory and representational competencies similar to children without developmental delay and of equivalent mental age (Weiss, Beeghly, & Cicchetti, 1985). In two studies, the play activity duration of children with mental retardation was equal to or longer than children without mental retardation who were matched on mental age. Thus, children with mental retardation appeared to spend at least as much time exploring and playing with objects as children without mental retardation (Weiss, Beeghly, & Cicchetti, 1985). Play of Children with Autism The play of children with autism is markedly differ ent from that of children who display developmental disabilities. In general, studies of children with autism focused on representational competence rather than exploratory competence. The few studies that focus on exploratory competence generally report l ess manual exploration of objects in naturalistic settings among children with autism. However, the nature of the setting is

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39 important. In unstructured situations, children with autism frequently explore objects less than control participants (Hermelin & O 1992). In structured situations, created by parents, experimenters, or teachers who actively encourage object exploration by limiting the space in which the child can move and by handing objects to the child, objec t exploration increases and becomes equivalent to that displayed by children with and without mental retardation of the same developmental level. Doll play is an exception. Adult participation failed to engage children with autism to the same degree as it did in control participants (Sigman, Mundy, Sherman, & Ungerer, 1986). Early studies of symbolic play in children with autism demonstrated few representational play activities (Tilton & Ottinger, 1964; Weiner, Ottinger, & Tilton, 1969). Researchers from a later study who viewed play from a developmental perspective demonstrated that children with autism engaged in less pretend play than children with and without mental retardation (Wing, Gould, Yeates, & Brierly, 1977). Recent studies have differentiated play more precisely, varied the amount of structure engage in pretend play similar to controls in highly structured settings (Baron Cohen, 1987; Mundy, Sigman, Ungerer, & Sherman, 1986; Riquet, Taylor, Benroya, & Klein, 1981; Sigman & Ungerer, 1984). Evidence for a deficit in functional play among children with autism is mixed. One study of 16 children with autism found that they display less functional play (e.g. play pe rformed for the physical sensation it creates) in both unstructured and structured situations when compared to a group of 16 children without mental retardation matched

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40 on mental and chronological age and a group of 16 children without mental retardation m atched on mental age (Sigman & Ungerer, 1984). In an unstructured situation in which the child was placed in a room with a variety of toys after a few functional activities had been modeled, the children with autism engaged in less functional play and fewe r sequences of three or more related functional activities than the children in the other two groups. Children with autism directed functional play activities to another person or a doll and performed different functional activities less than the children in the other groups. In a structured situation, children were given objects in a toy set one at a time or in a small group of related items by an experimenter who recorded spontaneous uses. The children with autism produced fewer doll directed functional a ctivities as well as fewer different functional activities Academic Competence Academic competence, as measured by the A cademic C ompetence Evaluation Scales College (ACES College) is defined as a multidimensional construct composed of the skills, attitude s, and behaviors of a learner that contribute to academic success (DiPerna & Elliott, 2000) Academic skills are the basic and complex skills that are a central part of academic curricula at the elementary and secondary levels of education Academic enablers are attitudes and behaviors that allow a child to benefit from instruction. on this topic and evaluations of the impact of federal policies on curriculum, instruct ion, and assessment. Three general historical changes are apparent. First, scientifically is more abundant. This knowledge has been used to establish educational polic ies that

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41 directly influence classroom practices. Second, we have a better understanding of the critical impact of skills and concepts acquired during preschool and primary grades on rvention are important for facilitating positive pathways through school. Third, accountability through assessment has permeated educational research at every grade level, with test results used increasingly to validate educational material, methods, curri cula, and instruction. This study addresses the importance of early identification and intervention in order to facilitate academic and social competence. The use of assessment and test results for decision making in schools is not addressed. Fa ctors Imp acting Academic Competence Readiness for school age at school entry gender, intra and inter personal concept, and the presence of conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disor der can have an impact on academic competence. Environmental influences as well as social and emotional skills can impact academic competence. School Readiness family, preschool experiences, and larger social and cultural context can have a decided impact on school readiness (NICHD ECCRN, 2005). These sources interact with one s developmental trajectories, beginning before school entrance (Storch & Whitehurst, 2002), including the early emergence of language, literacy, and other foundational skills for learning (Morrison, Bachman, & Connor, 2005; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000). Chil early schooling experiences are highly variable, in some cases exacerbating the

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42 developmental differences established prior to school entry (NICHD ECCRN, 2002, fa mily, preschool, social and cultural context results in considerable variability in learning. Developmental changes occur and personalities emerge as children transition from home through preschool to formal school between ages 3 and 10. Opportunities for learning vary widely in American homes, schools, and communities, thus creating variance that contributes to an ever increasing range of skill level at every grade level. The se diverse and developing skill trajectories, especially for literacy and numeracy, help establish different pathways for children into and through formal schooling. Age a t School Entry The effects of children's ages at entrance to first grade on their la ter success was examined in a cohort of urban children who entered first grade in 1983. Demographic, social, and early experience variables served as covariates in the analysis. Older children at entrance did slightly better academically in first grade, pr imarily in mathematics. Age at entrance and social conduct were unrelated in the first grade. Four years later, age at entrance to first grade had no impact on academic achievement or on type of placement general education or special educ ation Socioecono mic variables predicted academic achievement better than age at entrance (Bickel et al., 1991). Gender Developmental differences in specific cognitive and social skills may play an important role in establishing gender differences in academic competence (Serbin, et al., 1990). Gender differences in academic competence were examined in a sample of

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43 347 elementary school children (Serbin et al., 1990). Academic competence generally in part, to their greater responsiveness to social cues and compliance with adult direction. However, compared to boys, they displayed lower visual spatial skill. These qualities also impact academic success. Access to stereotypic masculine toys and acti vities at home predicted the visual spatial ability of both boys and girls. As expected, also influenced environmental, social, and cognitive qualities that predict aca demic competence. Temperament Intra and inter factor that could impact social and academic and competence. Although most theory and research related to temperament ha ve focused on adult behavior patterns, temperament differences can be distinguished in children as early as infancy. The differentiation of type often begins early in life. Most experts in temperament attribute it Jung interaction with objects, as one of the earliest indicators of extroversion. He described introverted children, even infants, as shy, reflective, thoughtful, and fe arful of unknown sociability, and emotionality (Buss, 1989). Thomas and Chess (Chess & Thomas, 1984, 1986: Thomas, 1977; Thomas & Chess, 1989) identified three basic tempera ment styles in infants and toddlers: easy (40% of children they studied), slow to warm (15% of children), and difficult (10% of children).

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44 The easy child establishes regular routines, is cheerful, and adapts easily to new experiences. Parents describe thes e children as contented and easy going. The difficult child has irregular routines, is slow to adapt to new experiences, and tends to react negatively. The slow to warm child is lethargic, wary of strangers, has poor responses to environmental stimuli, dis plays a negative mood, and adjusts slowly to new experiences. Approximately 50% of slow to warm children may experience psychological adjustment problems during their lifespan (Chess & Thomas, 1984; Thomas, Chess & Birch, 1968). Children who exhibited a di fficult temperament often also exhibited problematic sleep patterns (Thomas, 1977). Approximately 70% of children with the difficult temperament may experience long term adjustment problems sometime during their lifespan. Thomas & Chess (1989) used severa (e.g. recurring daily pattern) was ass was assessed by recording his or her response s to novel stimuli. Approach behaviors were considered positive and withdr awal behaviors were considered negative. The ability to respond to changing situations and the level of stimuli needed to elicit a attention span were indicated by the length of time a child concentrates on an activity and how easily competing stimuli interrupted

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45 recording descriptions of childr e another toy when a toy was removed). The number of pleasant behaviors and unpleasant beha viors exhibited determined the quality of mood. Thomas and Chess believed this collection of temperaments ( Thomas & Chess, 1989 ). Intelligence and Self Concept Interpersonal characteristics such as intelligence and self concept are factors that can impact social and academic competence. The impact of intelligence and self concept was examined in c hildren with learning disabilities (LD) in the auditory linguistic realm. Intelligence was found to have no relationship to the children's learning ability, whereas self concept predicted patterns of successful achievement in spelling, arithmetic, and writ ten language, and not in visual word recognition. Results support the importance of self concept as a correlate of academic achievement (Kershner, 1990). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can impact social and academic competence. Sensory motor, verbal, and cognitive abilities of preschool boys, ages 45 to 72 months, with ADHD C (combined type) were examined. Results indicated that sensory motor abilities, fine motor abilities, hand, mouth and tongue movements, and motor praxis were lower in the ADHD C group than in the norm group. Lower verbal skills and intelligence among boys with ADHD C also was identified. Boys with ADHD C have relative strengths in simple rapid movements, simple audi tory memory, and non motor visual perception. Thus, an examination of sensory motor qualities in young children who display ADHD C may be warranted. Teachers and professionals may want to adopt instructional methods that utilize these strengths as well as to recognize that

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46 memory problems may be related to the comprehension of long sentences and visual construction (Iwanaga et al, 2006). The literature on the prevalence and stability that preschoolers display inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity sugg ests a number of links between early literacy skills and later school achievement (Spira & Fischel, 2005). Few studies have focused specifically on the relationship between preschool ADHD symptoms and achievement. Several explanations for the relationship between preschool ADHD symptoms and achievement are suggested, including an explanation that focuses on the relationship between inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity and the acquisition of emergent literacy and language skills (Spira & Fischel, 2005 ). Spira & Fischel (2005) proposed four models to account for the link between ADHD symptoms and learning. The first model suggests that behavior problems are a indiv iduals with reading difficulties and ADHD exhibit the same cognitive deficits associated with ADHD and reading difficulties do not support this first model. The second model suggests that behavior problems are a cause of reading difficulties. Results of m edication outcome studies refute the second model by suggesting that stimulant medications have little effect on cognitive skills associated with academic achievement. The third model suggests that behavior problems and reading difficulties are neither cause nor consequence of each other but share a common cause. B ehavioral genetic analyses support the third model by suggesting that common genetic influences may predispose individuals to both reading problems and behavioral symptoms of

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47 ADHD (Willcutt, Pe nnington, & DeFries, 2000); however, no studies have isolated a neurocognitive deficit or physiological marker that is a consistent risk factor for both reading difficulties and ADHD. The fourth model suggests that all of the hypothesized relationships cou ld be active in some sense with bi directional or transactional influences that represent the relationship between behavior and achievement. This model is supported from the findings of Rowe and Rowe (1992). They suggest that early hyperactivity is associa ted with continued attentional problems, which negatively impact academic performance. Early hyperactivity is related to continued poor reading, which diminishes academic outcomes. Simultaneously, early literacy problems associated with hyperactivity at an early age are related to later reading problems and attentional difficulties. Based on these findings, McGee et al. (2002) suggest an intervention that addresses both symptoms of inattention and overactivity as well as reading problems be implemented in o rder to effect significant change in academic achievement. A study was designed to assess whether children with ADHD and comorbid conditions with similar core profiles differ as a function of comorbidity and gender. Children with ADHD and oppositional def iant or conduct disorder were described as more impulsive than inattentive while children with ADHD and anxiety disorders were described as more inattentive than impulsive. Girls generally were less impaired than boys, particularly on impulsivity. Girls wi th ADHD and anxiety were less impulsive than girls who only displayed ADHD. In conclusion, children who display ADHD have high levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity regardless of comorbidity; however,

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48 differences in symptomology exist as a function of comorbidity and gender (Newcorn, 2001). Despite the literature supporting the efficacy of stimulant medication in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), several limitations associated with the sole use of these pharm acological treatments highlight the need for the addition of effective psychosocial treatments to complement its use. Some behavioral interventions, including parent training and school interventions, have acquired the status of empirically validated treat ments (i.e. treatments have been studied in clinically controlled trials that consist of an experimental group and a control group). Additionally, social skills training that promotes generalization, intensive summer treatment programs, and educational int erventions appear promising in the treatment of ADHD. The chronic nature of impairments exhibited by children with ADHD in multiple domains of functioning often requires multimodal treatments to achieve desired behaviors (Chronis, 2006). Environ mental Inf luences Development can be understood as the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional maturation of human beings from conception to adulthood, a process that is influenced by interacting environmental and biological influences together with personal choices. Amo ng environmental influences, the family is likely to have the most profound impact on child development (Kazdin, 1996). F amily stability is defined in reference to the an d nurturing care they need to thrive. Children in foster care are particularly vulnerable to detrimental outcomes. Because they often are placed into state monitored care following their exposure to maltreatment, family instability and a number of other ri sk

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49 factors often compromise their healthy development. Foster children may witness and be victims of family violence or may not have been supervised or cared for in an appropriate manner. They may have been subjected to inadequate and impaired caregiving t hat results from various parental difficulties, including substance abuse, mental illness, and developmental disabilities (Kazdin, 1996). Most foster children are from impoverished backgrounds, conditions that exacerbate the risk factors they experience. M oreover, children exposed to violent, dangerous, and/or highly unstable environments are more likely to experience developmental difficulties (Kazdin, 1996). Children exposed to violence within their homes experience the most deleterious outcomes. For exam ple, children exposed to physical maltreatment often experience impaired physical health, cognitive development, including academic achievement, interpersonal relationships, and mental health (Kazdin, 1996). Erratic, insecure home environments together wit h a lack of continuity and constancy in caregiving also are associated with lower develop mental outcomes (Kazdin, 1996) Emotiona l and Social Skills achievement (Raver, 2003; Wentzel & Asher, 1995). Children who are emotionally well adjusted have a greater chance of early school success. In contrast, children who experience serious emotional difficulty have a greater risk of early school difficulty (Raver, 2003). Children who display emotional/behavioral disorders frequently demonstrate deficits in academic performance, have lower graduation rates, and are less likely to attend postsecondary institutions (Lane, Barton Arwood, & Wehby, 2008). A meta analysis of 25 studies found a signi ficant mean effect size of 0.69 in academic

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50 achievement between students with and without emotional/behavior disorders (Reid et al. 2004). Attention and other self achievement (Duncan et al. 2007). C hildren who display difficulty paying attention, following directions, getting along with others, and controlling negative emotions of anger and distress do less well in school than children who do not display these qualities (Arnold et al., 1999; McClella nd et al., 2000; Raver, 2003). Rela tionship of Play and Academic Competence The assumption that an early start on the teaching of phonics and other discrete skills leads to increased academic skills has been questioned and more play based curricula advocat ed (Darling Hammond & Snyder, 1992). For example, during the 1970s, most play based kindergartens in Germany began to emphasize cognitive development during a wave of educational reform. A comparison of 50 German play based classrooms and 50 cognitive base d classrooms found that, by age 10, the children who were in the play based classrooms surpassed others in reading and mathematics and were better adjusted socially and emotionally. They also excelled in creativity, intelligence, oral expression, and in th eir work ethic. The results of this study influenced the return to play based methods in German kindergartens. In Sweden, childhood has its own value and is seen as more than a time of preparation for adult life and future investment. Play is considered hi ghly important in Swedish childcare. The national curriculum for compulsory schools emphasizes play as a means for developing and learning in all children (The Swedish Ministry of Education, 1998). Adults can create possibilities for children through suppo rting and challenging

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51 them in their development, play, and learning (Bjorch Akesson & Granlund, 2003; Guralnick, 2005). The intra and interpersonal characteristic of self control observed through play has been demonstrated to impact social and academic co mpetence. A longitudinal study of four year old children who did and did not delay gratification initially of a toy found that, as adolescents, those who delayed gratification also displayed higher Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) verbal and quantitative sco res (Shoda, Mischel, & Peake, 1990). In addition, ten years later, parents of children who delayed gratification described their children as more academically and socially competent and more able to cope with frustration and to resist temptation. Parents d escribed these children as more verbally fluent and better able to express ideas, to use and respond to reason, to be attentive and able to concentrate, to plan and to think ahead, and to be competent and skillful. As adolescents, the children who were abl e to delay gratification were perceived as better able to cope and deal with stress more maturely and seemed more self assured. Observing children during play also yields valuable information regarding cognitive and communic ation development. C ognitive sk ills associated with problem solv ing, motivation to master tasks, attention, classification, and sequencing often are displayed during play (Linder, 1993). Children learn to categorize objects by manipulating and exploring them through play and learn about balance as the y explore and build with blocks. Children begin to create and think divergently when encouraged to solve problems that arise in play (Yawkey, Dank, & Glosenger, 1986).

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52 and vocalizations during familiar and pleasurable activities. Six language markers (first words, naming words, vocabulary spurts, word chains, nonproductive two word utterances, and productive two word utterances) can be observed during play (Ogura, 1991 ). Play activities can be pleasurable and self selected and thus are motivational for the child. Although children, when actively absorbed in play, may not consciously framework of knowledge and understanding. and working (Yawkey, Dank, & Glosenger, 1986). Social Competence The term describes a person's social effectiveness, including tablish and maintain high quality and mutually satisfying relationships and to avoid negative treatment or victimization from others (Welsh & Bierman, 2001). The term describes the child's knowledge of and ability to use a variety of social behaviors that are appropriate to a given interpersonal situation, including the ability to inhibit egocentric, impulsive, or negative social behavior. Social competence encompasses social, emotional, and cognitive skills and behaviors needed for children social skills, social awareness, and self confidence. Children are likely to be socially competent when they possess and display a repertoire of social skills and are socially awa re and perceptive (Welsh & Bierman, 2001). The early childhood years constitute a critical period for the development of social competence. During the first five years of life, the young child develops the

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53 foundational skills needed to regulate and expres s emotion, interact and form relationships with others, and express needs and wants (Fox, 2009). These development, peer relationships, social adjustment, school success, and qual ity of life as an adult. Social and behavioral competence in young children is highly predictive of a (Fox, 2009 ) Factors Impacting Social Competence Risk factors in the development of cognitive and social emotional competence include 1) a history of maternal mental illness; 2) high maternal anxiety; 3) maternal development; 4) few positive maternal interactions with the child observed d uring infancy; 5) head of household in unskilled occupation; 6) minimal maternal education; 7) disadvantaged minority status; 8) single parenthood; 9) stressed life events; and 10) large family size (e.g. potential for deleterious developmental effects) (S ameroff, Seifer, Barocas, Zax, & Greenspan, 1987) (Fig. 2 2 ). Marital discord and divorce are additional risk factors (Cichetti & Cohen, 1995; Damon & Eisenberg, 1998; Sameroff, Lewis & Miller, 2000). Lower socioeconomic status (SES) effects youth mental h ealth and intellectual achievement. SES effects parenting, parental attitudes and beliefs, family interactions, and availability of institutions within the surrounding community (Sameroff, Seifer, & Zax, 1982). Economists and sociologists have been interested in the effects of two single risk factors: income level and mari tal status (Sameroff & Emde, 1989 ). Although one may believe these qualities have powerful effects on the fate of children, support for this belief is not found when these single variables are considered within a broader

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54 ecological framework as seen in the Philadelp hia study (Sameroff & Emde, 1989 ). Differences in the impact of these two qualities on academic achievement disappeared when a number of other environmental risk factors in each family were controlled ( Table 2 4 ) For example, the effects of financial resources were studied by dividing family income into high, middle, and low income levels. Additionally, the effect of family structure was studied by dividing the families into two parent and single parent families. Among children with the same number of risk factors, academic achievement did not differ for those in rich and poor families or in one or two parent families (Sameroff & Emde, 1989 ). Rutter (1979) found that ea rly risk had an adverse effect on academic trajectories during grades 1 through 12. Higher intelligence was not a protective factor for children in higher risk families and was a protective factor for children in low risk families. Higher intelligence in l ow risk families resulted in higher grade point averages (i.e. GPAs) Among four year old children, those with lower intelligence in low risk conditions consistently had higher GPAs than children with higher intelligence in high risk conditions. A study of emotional functioning and mathematical skills found that problem behaviors, including withdrawal, social problems, and inattention were associated with low math skills (Dobbs, Doctoroff, Fisher, & Arnold, 2006). Higher levels of aggressive behavior, including physical aggression, hostility, or threatening acts among preschoolers were associated with lower emergent literacy scores (Doctoroff, Greer, & Arnold, 2006).

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55 Resilience Children who display resilience also display positiv e adaptation despite their severe conditions. Over the past three decades, studies of resilience have focused on individual variation in response to risky conditions such as stressful life events (Garmezy, Masten, & Tellegen, 1984; Weist, Freedman, Paskewi tz, Proescher et al., 1995), exposure to community violence (White, Bruce, Farrell, & Kliewer, 1998), maltreatment (Moran & Eckenrode, 1992), urban poverty (Luthar, 1999), divorce (Hetherington) and maternal mental illness (Sameroff et al., 1982). The resu lts of these studies have focused attention on the protective factors that influence stress resistance in children and adolescents. Although earlier studies focused primarily on personal attributes, such as higher intelligence (Garmezy et al, 1984), later research incorporated an examination of protective factors in a social context. For example, three broad sets of variables operate as protective factors in stress resistant children (Garmezy, 1993): 1) characteristics of the child (e.g. temperament, cognit ive skills, and positive responsiveness to others), 2) characteristics of families (e.g. warmth, cohesion, and structure), and 3) the availability of external support systems (Figure 2 1 ). Characteristics of the child. Socioeconomic status, race, and gend er are demographic variables, not behavioral variables. Therefore, an investigation of their influence jointly with psychological qualities may add to our understanding of the interactive effects of environmental qualities and psychological qualities on ch may help explain why some high risk youth either catch up or fall further behind their more advantaged peers as they progress through school.

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56 Various person al qualities are considered to be protective factors in children: intelligence and problem solving abilities, gender (i.e. being female), external interests and affiliations, parental attachment and bonding, early temperament and behavior, and positive pee r relationships (Fergusson & Horwood, 2003). In the Philadelphia s tudy (Sameroff & Emde, 1989), children were divided into high and low efficacy groups (e.g. from setback s). Youth who displayed high efficacy were more competent than those who displayed low efficacy. Characteristics of families Sameroff and Emde (1989) found individual ul ecological framework (e.g. high risk environment). Garmezy (1993) suggests that personal attributes, families, and an external support system are present in stress resistant children. External support system Sameroff and Emde (1989 ) examined the relationship positive community activities, and involvement in delinquent problem behavior. Children who l ived in high risk conditions and had higher grades had poorer mental health, less engagement in positive community activities, and more involvement in delinquent problem behavior than children living in low risk conditions w ith lower grades (Sameroff & Emd e, 1989 ). In the Philadelphia study, children with high and low efficacy were matched on the number of environmental risk factors in order to examine environmental qualities.

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57 Difference in academic achievement was greater between youth experiencing high a nd low environmental risk conditions than among youth displaying high and low resourcefulness. Adolescents who displayed high efficacy and lived in high risk conditions had poorer academic achievement than adolescents who displayed low efficacy and lived i n low ris k conditions (Sameroff & Emde, 1989 ). Thus, children who display low efficacy and live within advantaged families seemingly have a more favorable developmental path than children who live in high risk conditions and display high efficacy. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects about 3 to 9% of children in the United States. It is a complex, multi determined malady that can cause profound difficulty for children, their families, and those in the broader social environment (e.g. educators). A large body of scholarship discusses the use of stimulant medications to 1993 for the U.S. Department of Educat ion as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and inspired changes in regulations for the identification and treatment of students with ADHD. Ten critical issues were identified by panels of experts and, based on the literature cons ensus, views were identified for each topic that provided an evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of stimulant pharmacotherapy (Wigal,1999). Strengths of Stimulant Pharmacotherapy. The issues identified on the use of stimulant pharmacotherapy to trea t children with ADHD include 1) a response rate higher than 70%, 2) effects on diagnostic systems (e.g. immediate decrease), 3) effects on associated features (e.g. decreased aggression/defiance), 4) side effects (e.g.

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58 anorexia, insomnia, tics), and 5) no long term effects demonstrated. Research has indicated that extending the duration by an afternoon dose provides increased efficacy and higher response rates than the standard clinical treatment of methylphenidate given twice per day. The effects of stimul ants on behavior were greater than the effects on learning. The consensus that stimulants help to control behavior (i.e. aggression and defiance) was inconsistent with general assumptions about the treatment of Oppositional Defiant Disorder/Conduct Disorde r (e.g. clear environmental etiologies). The primary side effects of anorexia, insomnia, tics, and possibly cognitive impairments were considered to be tolerable rather than serious enough to stop treatment. The effects of stimulants appear to persist over time (e.g. 12 months) and across settings when the medication is taken on a chronic basis. Weaknesses of Stimulant Pharmacoptherapy. The issues identified on the non use of stimulant pharmacoptherapy to treat children with ADHD include 1) no paradoxical response evident, 2) no effect on higher order processes (e.g. learning/achievement), 3) response cannot be predicted (e.g. not yet demonstrated), 4) widespread clinical use (e.g. controversial), and 5) multimodality treatment (e.g. commonly recommended). Further research is needed to evaluate the hypothesis that paradoxical response to stimulants occurs at the neural level. Over the short term, the immediate effects on academic productivity do not translate into gains in achievement, but over longer peri ods of treatment, small effects may emerge. Prediction of cognitive, neurological, or genetic response was not reliable (e.g. effect sizes were small due to variation in brain size in the control population, half of ADHD cases do not carry disease related chromosome markers (e.g. alleles). Prediction of clinical response

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59 identified four independent predictors: high levels of inattention, low severity of the disorder, high IQ, and low rates of anxiety. A consensus about appropriate or inappropriate use of st imulant medications has not yet been reached. Evidence is lacking for the widespread r ecommendations for multimodal treatment of ADHD. Multimodal Treatment of ADHD Nathan (1992) argues that medication may help a child's day to day functioning; however, i ts effects are diminished when used alone. The use of multimodal treatment methods (e.g. education, cognitive behavioral therapy, behavior modification, structural and dynamic therapy) as well as medication are recommended. The use of multiple modalities p roduces therapeutic benefit greater than the sum of each modality's contribution (Nathan, 1992). Recognition of ADHD Related Symptoms In most countries, the majority of children with ADHD are undiagnosed (Sayal, 2006). For example, in the United Kingdom a major barrier to accessing specialist services exists in the form of limited recognition of ADHD symptoms by general medical practitioners. Most (80%) parents of children with ADHD recognize that their child has a problem although few (35%) construe th is in terms of hyperactivity. The impact of the symptoms on key adults, rather than on children themselves, is the best indicator of parental recognition of ADHD related problems. Parental recognition of problems and the perceived burden on them, rather th an on children themselves, largely determined whether children were referred for services. Parents who thought that their children displayed hyperactivity, not merely inattention, viewed symptoms as being more severe (Sayal, 2006). As stated previously, t his study seeks to explore the possibility of utilizing play observation as a developmental screener to assist caregivers, school personnel, and

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60 medical personnel in the identification of developmental or behavioral disabilities, and social and academic co mpetence. Examples of ADHD characteristics that are observable through play include inappropriate emotional and behavioral responsiveness, difficulty with self regulation or social independence, difficulty with problem solving, difficulty with social coope rati on and social interaction, lack of persistence, and difficulty with memory. Relationship of Play and Social Competence The value of play extends to the social emotional development of the child. Children explore adult roles, learn to cope with others, and work out their feelings through make believe play. For example, a child who is frustrated and upset about being forced to go to the dentist can play out their anxieties before or after the visit. In this way, the child learns to regulate their behavio r and cope with their feelings. Erikson (1963) has noted the importance of play to the development of autonomy, initiative, and eelings help the child build a strong self concept (Yawkey, Dank, & Glosenger, 1968). Social skills may be readily observable in play settings. Observers can compare how children interact with parents, siblings, teachers, strangers, and peers. These obser to promote social interaction skills. For example, through observations of mother child play, professionals may suggest strategies for the mother to use to promote turn tak ing with the child. Observations of peer play allow teachers and other professionals to note whether a child needs to learn how to approach other children to join in their play or to

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61 develop other social skills that have life long implications. Healthy pla y accommodates to the needs of self and others. Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) provides one form of therapeutic play intervention that incorporates relationship enhancement and positive communication strategies (Eyberg, 1988). Parent C hild Interaction Therapy, based on a model developed by Constance Hanf is conducted in two stages, c hild d irected interaction and parent directed interaction in the context of dyadi c play situations. A goal of the child directed interaction stage is to as sist children with developmental delay in developing basic play skills, which are critical to exploration of the environment and cognitive development (Eyber g, 1988). The skills taught in the child directed interaction stage promote parental behaviors asso including being responsive, providing opportunities to explore, allowing independent play, rewarding success experiences, and being nonintrusive. Descriptions of parental behaviors to be eliminated or increased and their rati onales are included in Table 2 5 and types of toys used in child directed interaction dya dic play are listed in Table 2 6 Studies examining the effectiveness of PCIT with nondelayed, conduct problem young children have demonstrated statisti cally and clinically significant improvements in child disruptive behavior and noncompliance (Eisenstadt, et al., 1993, Eyberg & Robinson, 1982). Treatment improvements have been found to generalize to the home (Boggs, 1990), to the school setting (McNeil, et al., 1991), and to untreated siblings (Eyberg & Robinson, 1982). Although the outcome research on PCIT has evaluated its usefulness with nondelayed children, it was based on a model originally developed for use with multiply

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62 handicapped, developmenta lly delayed children. In addition, PCIT is used routinely with families of young children with mild developmental delays and children with more severe developmental disabilities such as mental retardation (Eyberg 1979, 1988; Eyberg & Boggs, 1989). Early Intervention for Developmental Delay The timing of identification and entry into early intervention spans the birth to 36 month age period. Slightly more than 200,000 children are identified as having a developmental disability or being at risk for one be fore 36 months of age and are enrolled in early intervention programs under Part C of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The IDEA mandates 16 components (see below) of early intervention and provides an accompanying set of regulations to guide program implementation. However, considerable variability exists across states in the nature and extent of services provided. As stated previously, infants or toddlers with disabilities in one or more of the following areas of development may qualify for early intervention: physical, cognitive, adaptive, communicative, or social and/or emotional development (Bailey, et al., 2004) Early intervention services under IDEA include the following 16 components: early identification, screening, and assessment; family training, counseling, and home visits; special instruction; speech language pathology and audiology services; occupational therapy; physical therapy; psychological services; service coordination; medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes; health services necessary to enable the infant or toddler to benefit from other early intervention services; vision services; social work services; assistive technology devices and services, and transportation and related costs to receive another covered service

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63 ( http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/leg/idea.pdf ) With som e exceptions, these are provided at no cost to the family. In 1986, the U.S. Congress mandated a range of early intervention services to be provided to infants and toddlers with disabilities. Early intervention is designed to improve outcomes for children with disabilities by providing early, appropriate, and intensive interventions. Public Law 105 17 provides for special services for the youngest members of our society. This was due to an urgent and substantial need both to enhance the development of infan ts and toddlers with disabilities and to minimize their potential for developmental delay. Early intervention is designed to serve children with disabilities under age 3 and their families. Each state receives federal grants to provide comprehensive servic es to infants and toddlers with disabilities. A lead agency in each state administers the statewide program. Each state establishes criteria for eligibility within parameters set by the federal government and as outlined in public law (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/IDEA/the_law.html). Public Law 105 17 describes early intervention as a statewide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary, interagency system that provides early intervent ion services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. In simpler terms, early intervention services range from early identification, screening and assessment to medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes at the early stage s of an infant or Significance of Early Intervention The development and implementation of effective treatments are critically important to improving adaptive and prosocial functioning. Epidemiological research has

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64 demonstrated that a high proportion of youth experience significant impairment. Many dysfunctions that begin during early childhood continue through middle childhood and on through adolescence and into adulthood. Thus, interventions are needed during the early childhood per iod. Early intervention can reduce the suffering of children and adolescents and prevent or attenuate impairment in adulthood. Psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological interventions provided on an outpatient basis can be particularly effective. These se rvices can be provided on a much larger scale compared to more restrictive, costly, and disruptive interventions (e.g. hospitalization and residential care). Psychosocial interventions include a wide range of interventions designed to decrease or eliminate symptoms and maladjustment (Kazdin, 1996). Early Intervention for Social Competence Recent research has validated the importance of ensuring that young children have access to the environments and interactions that enhance social development. Moreover, the evidence that the early years constitute a pivotal time for providing effective int erventions to address challenging behavior is persuasive (Dunlap et al., 2006). A child is at an increased risk of continuing to have behavioral difficulties if adoptio n of the Pyramid Model (Fig. 2 2 ) across all early education settings (i.e., child care, Head Start, early childhood special education, preschool programs) is challenges, and prov ide effective interventions for addressing challenging behavior. The pyramid model provides a tiered intervention framework of evidence based interventions for promoting the social, emotional, and behavioral development of young children (Fox et al., 2003; Hemmeter, Ostrosky, & Fox, 2006). The model describes

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65 three tiers of intervention practice: universal promotion for all children; secondary preventions to address the intervention needs for children at risk of social emotional delays, and tertiary interve ntions needed for children with persistent challenges. Evaluation of Risk and Protective Factors Multiple settings and multiple systems must be considered because more than one risk factor tends to exist when examining the factors that may be targeted for intervention efforts (Bronfenbrenner, 1994). Many investigators who started out examining a single risk factor soon realized that a risk factor rarely occurs alone (Kalil & Kunz, 1999; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998). Children who are at risk often experience many risks and recurring stressors. Thus, focusing on a single risk factor may not background were found to contribute to psych iatric disorders (Rutter, 1979). Differences between children with few and many risk factors were determined by creating a multiple risk score that represented the total number of risks for each individual family. Most children with only a single risk fact or did not have a major developmental problem. Major differences were found in the mental health and intelligence betwee n children with 3 or fewer risks and those with 8 or more risks. The largest difference was in academic achievement. Chi ldren with 8 or more risks were 6.7 times more l ikely than children with 3 or fewer risks to have low academic achievement. Interventions N eed to T arget M ore T han O ne R isk F actor The identification of some qualities that show an interactive effect may be important to an understanding of interventions. As stated previously, multiple settings

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66 and multiple systems should be considered because more than one risk factor may need to be targeted for intervention efforts (Bronfenbrenner, 1994). One approach is to determine wheth er some environmental qualities buffer the effects of other risks (i.e. Sameroff ). Another approach is to determine whether some qualities in the child would serve as buffers (i.e. Rutter). Rutter (1979) suggests that social competence is due to th e interaction between risk and protective factors that occurs over time rather than due to the intensity of one or multiple factors at any one time. Behavioral and Academic Interventions Approximately 1 1% of children ages 6 to 17 years are served during the early elementary years when behavioral or academic problems become evident in the context of school performance. In contrast, only 5% of the preschool age population, ages 3 to 5 years and 1.8% of the infant toddler population birth through 2 years receive special education or early intervention services (Bailey, et al., 2004). Preschool Programs Forty nine percent of children ages 3 and 4 (3.7 million) are enrolled in preschool programs (www.NIEER.org.). Scientists have become increasingly interested in the psychological consequences of caregiving for preschool children as well as its impact on sc hool transition and later school functioning (NICHD ECCRN, 2002, 2005). In addition, interventions during the preschool years have attempted to help children who are most at risk for school failure (e.g. those living in poverty) catch up to their peers and to be equally ready for school (Barnett, 1995). A study of 1,272 kindergarten children in 21 school districts found that, compared to those children who did not attend preschool programs, children who attended such

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67 programs for two years displayed better receptive vocabulary, print awareness, and math skills (Barnett & Lamy, 2006). Perry Preschool Project A longitudinal study of the Perry Preschool Project (Schulman & Barnett, 1995) followed 123 low income participants through age 40. The Project progr am consisted of half day classes held five days a week along with a weekly home visit. The curriculum used a participatory education model that emphasized self initiated learning by children as well as direct instruction. Children who participated in this program later displayed a greater commitment to school than others who did not participate in the program as reflected by their attitudes toward school and schoolwork during their teenage years. Differences in social adjustment among Perry Preschool prog ram participants were evident in elementary school. Reports from kindergarten through third grade teachers indicated that children who had attended the preschool program tended to display a lower frequency of personal and school misconduct than children in the control group. Abecedarian Project. A longitudinal study of the Abecedarian Project (Schulman & Barnett, 1995) followed 104 at risk children from age 3 through age 21. Children in this full day program participated in an intensive, child centered, and individualized curriculum that emphasized the development of cognitive, language, and behavior skills. Program participants later displayed a higher rate of high school graduation rate at age 19 (67%) compared to same age peers who did not participate in the project (51%) and increased enrollment levels in higher education (36%) than same age peers who did not participate in the project ( 14 %).

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68 School Development Program. The School Development Program (Haynes, Comer, & Hamilton Lee, 1988) was designed to promote the academic achievement of inner city elementary school children. The program utilized an ecological systems approach that included a governance and management team, a mental health team, parent participation, and curriculum and staff development. Students were on grade level in mathematics and reading for each of the four study years, and suspension, absenteeism, and corporal punishments declined steadily between 1982 83 and 1985. Chicago Title 1 Child Parent Centers. A quasi experimental study co mpared 989 children who completed preschool and kindergarten in the Chicago Title 1 Child Parent Centers (CPC) operated by Chicago Public Schools with 550 children in similar neighborhoods who did not attend the preschool program and instead participated i n a full day kindergarten program. The preschool program offered a structured set of educational activities that emphasized reading and math skills, parent participation opportunities, and parent support. Participation in CPC preschool was associated with significantly better performance on all outcomes. Lower income level within a school attendance area was linked with significant variance to word analysis skills in kindergarten ( .046, p < 0.05), reading achievement in eighth grade ( 0.79, p < 0.01), juve nile delinquency (0.50, p < 0.01), and high school completion (0.49, p < 0.01). Parent involvement predicted word analysis at kindergarten (0.44, p < 0.05), later reading achievement (0.45, p < 0.05), and high school completion (0.41, p < 0.05). Site locat ion, and family stability were associated only with eighth grade reading achievement (Clements, 2004). In all four programs described above, children receiving

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69 the interventions showed significantly stronger academic and social skill development compared t o equally at risk children not enrolled in the programs. Play As the Context for Intervention The importance of play as the context for intervention activities has been recommended often because, in part, it provides a primary context in which young childr en can be observed while learning and practicing emerging skills (Casby, 2003; Morrison, Sainato, Benchaaban, & Endo, 2002). Play provides the context in which the Evidence of cognitive, speech, and language delays often constitutes the most salient concerns for many parents with young children who display deficits or delays. Parents also become concerned when they observe deficits and delays in social skills and may seek dev elopmental interventions. Play Interventions caregivers such that the child is encouraged to interact positively with peers. Children thought to be at risk because their ca regivers cannot fulfill their caregiving roles adequately may warrant additional interventions, including family support or family therapy. A number of services are available to families that are at psychosocial risk who also have a child with an establish ed disability (Guralnick, 2005). Only a few families take advantage of such services. The manner in which high quality practices (e.g. the combination of characteristi cs) result in successful inclusion is well established (Buysse, Skinner, & Grant, 2001). Twelve principles for developmentally appropriate practice in early

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70 childhood programs serving children from birth though age 8 were identified by the National Associa tion for the Education of Young Children in 2009 (Appendix B ). Each principle addresses either cognitive, physical, social and/or emotional development, is based on extensive research, and provides a solid base for decision making on how best to meet the e ducational needs of young children. Principle 10 is dedicated solely to play, describing play as an important vehicle for developing self regulation, promoting language, cognition, and social competence. Children in child care/preschool settings who need special education services typically participate less frequently in the social process of play as do other children (Almqvist, 2001; Jansson, 2002; Preisler, Tvingstedt, & Ahlstrom, 2002). Restrictions in peer interaction and play may be related to differe the context, ability, and opportunities to manipulate the physical environment, ability to interpret the meaning of symbolic action, and ability to share the socio communicative system created in play (Bjorck Akesson, & Granlund, in Guralnick, 2005). The type of difficulties observed in the social process of play varies among individual children (Jansson, 2003). The social process of play in children who participate in adult structured activities is less restricted comp ared to other children who do not participate in adult structured activities (Almqvist, 2001). Role of the Teacher in Play B ased Curriculum Interventions intended to increase social participation and peer interaction of children in need of special service s are provided mainly by preschool teachers and other child care/preschool personnel. These interventions typically are needed to the child in interpreting the meaning i

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71 interaction (Jansson, 2003). However, such interventions may be difficult to implement. Peer group play is disturbed easily when targeted for intervention (Jannson, 2003; Preisler et al., 2002). Peer cultur es tend to defend themselves from outside interference (Jansson 2003). They act as a partially closed system that may break down if adult intrusion disturbs the play script and is replaced by adult child dyadic interaction. Adult interventions in play cont exts frequently result in a breakdown of the play activity (Jansson, 2002). Successful adult implemented intervention generally confirms the rules for play set by the children and intervenes within the frame of the play script set by the children (Guralnic k, 2005). Likewise, special education services, although well intentioned, can be ineffective in promoting social interaction during play. For example, one on one aides often work with the child to the extent the activities of the child and the aide are parallel to and not integrated with activities of other children and staff, thus creating a subsystem within the preschool rather than active participants within the same system (Rabe, Hill, & Andersson, 2001). Teachers can perform a strong though subtle role in an effective play based kindergarten. Teachers often are knowledgeable about the cognitive, physical, and social themes and build on them, and introduce new content and p lay materials to stimulate them overcome obstacles that hinder learning. Summary Play contributes to the intellectual, social, psychomotor, a nd emotional growth of children. Play behaviors and patterns of play are believed to reflect various a spects of a

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72 developmental level of functioning, and comp etence abilities ( This study seeks to explore the po ssibility utilizing observation of free play activity choice as a developmental screener to assist caregivers, school personnel, and medical personnel in the early identification of developmental or behavioral disabilities, and social and academic competen ce. achievement (Raver, 2003; Wentzel & Asher, 1995). P lay provides a primary context in which young children can be observed while learning and practicing emerging skills (Casby, 2003; Morrison, Sa inato, Benchaaban, & Endo, 2002). The activity children choose during child directed free play may be related to age, gender, disability, temperament, availability of play activities, social competence, problem behaviors and/or academic c ompetence. This study seeks to identify the relationship between free play activity choice and social and academic competence. Research Questions This study examine d the following six questions: 1. What is the most frequent fre e play activity choice for t wo a ge cohorts? 2. Is the frequen cy of free play activity choice related to the activities that are available ? 3. What is the relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and social competence over time? 4. What is the relationship between fr ee play activity choice in preschool and 5. What is the relationship between free play activity choice and temperament of preschool children with and without problem behaviors? 6. To what extent does free play activity cho ice predict academic competence in preschool, kindergarten and 1 st grade?

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73 This study also investigated the following six hypotheses: Hypotheses 1. There will be a direct relationship between free play activity choice and the age cohort. When children are age s 3 to 5, their play becomes more dramatic and involves an element of pretense and includes the child taking on the role of someone else (Gitlin Weiner, et al., 2000). Children ages 4 to 5 who engage in socio dramatic play generally display more developed language, social skills, empathy, imagination, and a subtle capacity to infer what others mean than those children who do no t engage in socio dramatic play 2. There will be a direct relationship between the frequency of free play activity choice and the act ivities that are available in the classroom. emotional, and communicative competencies become integrated. Erikson noted that well as on t he skills a child had developed. For example, b oth boys and girls become 3. There will be a direct relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and social competence in preschool, kindergarten 1 st grade, and 2 nd grade. The value of play extends to the social emotional development of the child. Children explore adult roles, learn to cop e with others, and work out their feelings through make believe play. Erikson (1963) noted the importance of play to the development of autonomy, initiative, and the sense of accomplishment. Children gain a help the child build a strong self concept (Yawkey, Dank, & Glosenger, 1968). Children

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74 ages 4 to 5 who engage in sociodramatic play are less aggressive and show more self control and higher levels of thinking than those who do not engage in socio dramatic play (Miller & Almon, 2009). 4. There will be a direct relationship between free play activity choice (i.e. blocks, LEGOs and other building toys ) in preschool and problem behaviors (i.e. internalizing, ext ernalizing ) in preschool, kindergarten 1 st grade and 2 nd grade Compensatory play (Piaget, 1951) involves the child doing things normally forbidden, or pretending that something has happened that has not occurred. Such play may be a cathartic neutralizat ion of fear or anger, or it may be a wish fulfillment. In anticipatory play, children play out fears of the consequences of refusing to do what is expected of them. The child constantly told to be careful may have do encounter harm. 5. A fter controlling for SES, program type, and disability, children w ith developmental delay and with problem behaviors will evidence fewer academic readiness skills (e.g. less developed social competence, less developed literacy and numeracy skills ) than chi ldren without disabilities and without problem behaviors. As stated earlier, early risk has an adverse effect on academic trajectories during grades 1 through 12 (Garmezy, 1993). Major differences exist on mental health and intelligence measures between t hose children with 3 or fewer risks versus those with 8 or more risks (Rutter, 1979). The strongest effects were for academic performance, where the relative risk for low academic performance was 7 percent in the low risk group and 45 percent in the high r isk group resulting in an odds ratio of 6.7 to 1 Children with 8 or more risks were 6.7 times more likely than children in the low risk group (3 or fewer) to have low academic performance. 6. Among children with developmental delay and problem behaviors, t h ere will be a direct relationship between the most frequen t activity chosen in preschool during

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75 child directed free play and academic competence in preschool, kindergarten and 1 st grade. From play, children develop social skills have greater self regulation and abilities to work through problems; are more cooperative; develop l ong lasting interactions; greater imaginative and flexible thinking; and greater persistence; increased memory de velopment, including abstract thinking and meaning; storytelling and story memory; more complex cognitive skills (e.g. language and vocabulary); and more scientific, mathematical, and social discoveries (Gitlin Weiner, et al., 2000). The most frequent acti vity choice (i.e. representational competence, exploratory competence) differs by disability. Problem behavior does not differ by disability but does differ by activity choice. Student achievement differs by problem behaviors and problem behaviors differ b y activity choice, thus student achievement differs by activity choice. Significance of this Study Previous studies that operationalized free play activity choice during preschool could not be located. Thus the relationship between activity choices and so cial skills, problem behavior, academic development, and cognitive ability is not known. The use of the dataset provided by the Pre Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS) may provide both primary and secondary benefits. The primary benefit may be found in helping to identify behaviors that assist in the early identification of children with disabilities and problem behaviors. This information may assist in the design of specific program and activity types that decrease problem behaviors and promot e prosocial skills. A secondary benefit may be the design and development of interventions that

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76 and decrease the later need for more intensive intervention. One of the primary interests of stakeholders engaged in the PEELS research (OSEP, April 1, 2005) is to attempt to link intervention program qualities with different child outcomes. Because PEELS data come from a nationally representative sample of 3,000 children, the findings from this study may be generalized to the national population. Providing the ability to link play observations to social and academic outcomes may aid early childhood centers and others in providing developmentally appropriate play activities, d esigning and improving academic outcome measures for young children with disabilities, extend our knowledge of the impact of problem behaviors exhibited by children with disabilities or at risk of developing disabilities, and extend our knowledge of play a ssessment and play intervention. The following sectors of the education community may be served by this work: preschool and early elementary private and public education, undergraduate and graduate programs in early childhood education and related areas, a nd public policy initiatives.

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77 Table 2 1 Examples of Play Definitions from 1962 to 2000 Ellis ( 1973 ) Knox ( 1974 ) Garvey ( 1977 ) ; Piaget ( 1962 ) McCune Nicolich & Fenson ( 1984 ) Gitli n Weiner, Sandgrund & Schaefer ( 2000 ) Processes that enhance all areas of development Space management Pleasurable Pursued for its own sake Types and numbers of toys used Material management Spontaneous Focused on means rather than ends Context of play Imitation Flexible Directed toward exploring objects in order to do something with the objects Participants involved Participation Natural product of physical and cognitive growth Not considered a serious endeavor because no realistic result is expected Sequences of play themes Not governed by external rules Space used Characterized by active engagement of the player Style with which the play activities are performed Degree of effort invested in the play

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78 Table 2 2 Developmental Characteristics of Play (Butler, Gotts, & Quisenberry, 1978; Garvey, 1990; Howes, 1992; Goncu, 1993; Bjorklund, 2005; Nash & Schaefer, 2010) Areas of development Infancy (ages 0 12 mos.) Toddlerhood (12 24 mos ) Preschool (age 3) Preschool (age 4) Kindergarten (age 5) Visual Joint attention Sustained attention ---------------* ------------------------------Cognition Imitation and repetition Intentionality or goal directed behavior Play themes move between reality and fantasy More involved pretend play; more than one play theme Basis of critical and divergent thinking begin to emerge; 3 or more play themes at a time Motor Explore and engage in simple motoric actions -------------------------------Fine motor and gross motor coordination improves ----------------Language Explore with all their senses -------------------------------Rapid language development ---------------Sensory Gain pleasure through their actions Use simple play materials to satisfy their own purposes Engage in dramatic and sociodramatic play ------------------------------Social Solitary play Solitary play Parallel play; social role play; play themes with one other child Cooperative & social play Social skills increase through cooperative & social play; elaborate pretend play *Specific characteristics of development at this age were not mentioned by these authors

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79 Table 2 3 Developmental and Behavioral Disorders Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD) Angelman Syndrome Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders Bipolar Disorder Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) Cerebral Palsy Down Syndrome Expressive Language Disorder Fragile X Syndrome IsoDicentric 15 Landau Kleffner Syndrome Learning Disabilities Mental Retardation Neural Tube Defects Prader Willi Syndrome Phenylketonuria (PKU) Prader Willi Syndrome Seizure Disorders Tourette Syndrome Traumatic Brain Injury Williams Syndrome

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80 Table 2 4 Risk Variables in Domains of the Social Ecology in the Philadelphia Study (Clark Stewart & Dunn, p.59) Domain Variable Family process Support for autonomy Discipline effectiveness Parental investment Family climate Parent characteristics Education Efficacy Resourcefulness Mental Health Family structure Marital status Household crowding Welfare receipt Management of community Institutional involvement Informal networks Social resources Economic adjustment Peers Prosocial Antisocial Community Neighborhood SES Neighborhood problems School climate

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81 Table 2 5. Summary of C hild D irected I nteraction Skil ls and Rationales for their Use wi th Developmentally Delayed Children Takes lead away May cause unpleasantness if child disobeys or does not understand command sense of competence, which is necessary to remediate delays May discourage spontaneous speech May communicate disagreement or disapproval Takes the lead away May negatively affect self esteem Causes unpl easantness in interaction Reinforces the child for acquiring toy play skills May improve receptive and expressive language Helps child organize thoughts about play Can be used to teach preacademic skills children Conveys attention and understanding of what the child has said Teac hes child about turn taking in conversation Can provide corrective feedback on child speech Promotes positive self esteem Encourages child to imitate parent modeling of skills Do Praise Appropriate Behavior concept Reinforces appropriate behavior Adds warmth to parent child relationship and enhances parent child bonding May help c hild persist in learning difficult tasks Do Ignore Negative Attention Seeking Behavior Extinquishes the negative attention seeking behaviors common in developmentally delayed children, without being punitive Adapted from Eyberg & Boggs (1989)

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82 Table 2 6 C hild D irected I nteraction Toys (McElrea th & Eisenstadt,1997) Toys that are complementary to the goals of CDI: Toys that may detract from the success of CDI: Constructional Toys (alphabet blocks, Duplos, Mr. Potato Head) easy for the child to take the lead and the parent to development Toys that lead to rough or aggressive play (action figures, toy weapons, bats and balls, punching bags) Toys that encourage fine motor development (chalk and chalkboard, crayons and paper, beads and string, simple puzzles, formboards) can be used for children with developmental delay Toys that might require limit setting (paints, scissors, or clay) For children functioning at the developmental level of 12 24 mos. (bristl e blocks, magnetic blocks, activity boards containing tactile, auditory, and visual stimuli) Toys that have preset rules (board or card games) take the lead away from the child Toys that lead the parent or child to pretend to be someone else (toy telep hones, costumes, or dolls) Books are important educational tools; however, tend to discourage direct conversation

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83 Figure 2 1 Risk Factors Contributing to Cognitive and Social Emotional Competence History of mental illness High anxiety Rigidity in attitudes, beliefs, & values regarding their child's development Head of household in unskilled occupation Minimal education Disadvantaged minority status Single parenthood Stressful life events Large family size Biological Mother Few postitive interactions with the child during infancy Interaction between mother and child Poor adaptation and response to stressful life events Temperament Lower cognitive skills Poor responsiveness to others Lack of familial warmth, cohesion, structure Lack of external support Child

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84 Fig ure 2 2 The Pyramid Tertiary Prevention Secondary Prevention Universal Promotion

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85 CHAPTER 3 METHOD Participants The PEELS data include a sample of 3,104 children with and without disabilities, ages 3 to 5 at the start of the study in 2003. Each child with a disability who was receiving special education services had either an Individual Education Plan or an Individualized Family Service Plan. Children without disabilities did not h ave an Individual Education Plan or an Individualized Family Service Plan. The PEELS study was designed to describe the services that each child received as well as the nature of their transitions from early intervention to preschool and from preschool to elementary school. The PEELS data include three age cohorts of children thus enabling an account of maturation effects. Participants for cohor t A are 986 three year olds. Participants for cohort B are 1,125 four year olds, and participants for cohort C are 993 five year olds ( Table 3 1). The goal of the PEELS sample selection was to obtain a sample of children that is nationally representative of children in preschool with and without disabilities in reference to gender (Table 3 2), race (Table 3 3), and household income (Table 3 4). The following disabilities are represented by the PEELS study : autism (AU), developmental disability (DD), emotional disability (ED), learning disability (LD), mental retardation (MR), orthopedically impaired (OI), o ther health impaired (OHI), speech and language impaired (SLI), and language impaired (LI) (Table 3 5). Only 806 children with devel opmental disability or delay (28 5 % of the PEELS study participants) and 96 children without a disability or children not r eceiving special education services (3.1 % ) were selected for the current study Two age cohorts, Cohort

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86 B (i.e. 280 four year olds) and Cohort C (i.e. 198 five year olds) consisting of children with developmental disability (280 four year olds and 198 five year olds) and children without disabilities (96 four year olds and 52 five year olds) were selected for the study. Of the 626 total children selected for the study, data for four consecutive years were available for only 148 participants. Participants were selected according to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code Of Conduct of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2002) by those who acquired the data Institutional Review Bo ard (Appendix C) Participant Descriptive Information According to Head Start Program Fact Sheet for 2003 (Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, 2004), total Head Start enrollment for 2003 was 909,608. Of the total Head Start enrollment, 31.5% were African American, 30.6% were Hispanic/Latino, 27.6% were White, 3.2% were American Indian/Alaska Native, 1.8% were Asian, 1.1% were Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. Approximately 50% were male and 50% were female, 34% were 3 year olds, 53% were 4 year olds and 5% were 5 year olds and older. Of the total Head Start enrollment, 12.5% had disabilities (mental retardation, health impairments, visual handicaps, hearing impairments, emotional disturbance, speech and language impairments, orthopedic handicaps and learning disabilities). Of the 148 participants in the current study 65% were male and 35% were female. The following cultural groups were represented in the sample: White (51%), African American or Black ( 28 %), Asian (16%), Ame rican Indian or Alaska Nat ive ( 6%), or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (0%). Fewer white children and more black

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87 ch ildren were participants in the current study tha n the overall PEELS study participants (Table 3 3). Nearly all (e.g. 99%) children in the current study atte nd ed a Head Start Program The majority (e.g. 66 %) attended an early childhood class. Data pertaining to type of class placement were unavailable for 34% of children. Among four year old children, 100 % attend ed a Head St art program, 61 % of whom attended an early childhood class. Data pertaining to type of class placement were unavailable for 40% of children. Among five year old children, 100% attend ed a Head Start program, 41% of whom attended in an early childhood class. Data pertaining to type of class pl acement were unavailable for 28% of children. The total income of families with children in the sample were as follows: 39.6 % were from families with income $25,001 $30,000, 27.7% with income $30,001 $35,000 19.6% with income $35,001 40,000, 11.5% with in come $40,001 $45,000, and 2.0 % with income $45,001 $50,000. There were no families with children in the sample with income below $20,000 and above $50,000 T here were more families in the study sample with income $25,000 $35,000 than in the PEELS study sam ple. Sample Design The PEELS study used a two stage sampling design to obtain a nationally representative sample of 3 to 5 year olds who were or were not receiving special education services. In the first stage, a national sample of local education agencies (LEAs) was selected. In the second stage, a sample of preschoolers with and without disabilities was selected from lists of eligible children provided by the participating LEAs. In 2001, 2,752 LEAs were selected from all LEAs serving preschoolers with disabilities. The LEAs were stratified by four census regions, four categories of estimated preschool special education enrollment size, and four income classes defined

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88 on the basis of district poverty level. The target number of 210 LEAs was needed to generate a sufficient number of children in the second stage sample. A total of 709 LEAs was contacted during recruitment and 245 LEAs agreed to participate. In spring 2003, 46 of the 245 LEAs recruited in 2001 dropped out of the study. The 199 remaini ng LEAs confirmed their participation and began to supply lists of preschool children who were receiving special education services. Directors of special education and superintendents were contacted in order to ing LEA was required to return a signed agreement affirming that the district would complete the following five tasks: 1) provide one or more names and contact information for a potential site coordinator for the study; 2) allow the site coordinator and ot her cooperating district staff to recruit families into the study; 3) forward contact information from parents who consented to participate in the study; 4) allow selected teachers, other service providers, and principals of sampled children to complete a mail questionnaire; and 5) allow selected children to participate in a direct assessme nt following parental consent. Instrumentation My permission to use the PEELS dataset was received from the U.S. Department cation Research (NCSER) prior to my Education, Department of Special Education, School Psychology and Ea rly Childhood Studies and NCSER is provided in Appendix D The PEELS study data collection began in 2003 and initial results were made available in the Wave 1 report entitled Assessment Results for Preschoolers with Disabilities submitted to the Office of Sp ecial Education Programs April 1, 2005. Data collection for the cur rent study began with this release of

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89 data and continued with each subsequent release of data until the final (and fourth) release of data in 2010. Specific normati ve data utilized in the data analysis are included in Table 3 6. The total number of respo ndents for each PEELS instrument is provided in Table 3 7. Not all assessments were administered in ea ch wave of data collection ( Table 3 8). For example, only two versions of the teacher questionnaire were used in Wave 1 (e.g. Early Childhood Teacher Ques tionnaire, Kindergarten Teacher Questionnaire). Waves 2 and 3 used all three questionnaires (e.g. Elementary School Teacher Questionnaire in addition to the Early Childhood and Kindergarten Teacher Questionnaires) and Wave 4 used only the Kindergarten and Elementary versions. The Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales, Second Edition (PKBS 2) was included in all three versions of the questionnaire in Waves 1 and 2. In Waves 3 and 4, the PKBS 2 was replaced with the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) due to the respective age of the children at the time of data collection. Statistical Methods As this study is retrospective in nature, no variables were manipulated. All variables resulted from test scores, questionnaires, or interviews. Bivariate correlati ons and regression coefficients between the following variables were identified and analyzed statistically: activities during free play, program type, literacy skills, math skills, receptive vocabulary, problem behavior, and social skills. Activities duri ng free play, program type, problem behaviors, and social skills were measured by data from the PEELS Early Childhood Teacher Questionnaire (Appendix E) Kindergarten Teacher Questionnaire (Appendix F) and Elementary Teacher Questionnaire (Appendix G) Ac hievement was measured by data from the

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90 Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement Third Edition, and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. ender, race, ethnicity, age, disability and temperament was provided by the PEELS Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) Parent Questionnaire CATI content pertaining to the current study is included in Appendix H The Adaptive Behavior Assessment System, Second Edition (ABAS II), Functional (Pre) Academics Scale Self Care and Self Direction Scale scores were utilized as an alternate assessment in the PEELS study (i.e. children whose first language was not English) and will not be included in this study. Data collection methods in the PEELS study included parent interviews, dire ct as well as surveys of district and state administrators. The current study used data from s. Surveys from school/program administrators or district and state administrators were not utilized in the current study. The PEELS study design called for five waves of data collection (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 200 9 ) and four releases of data In the PEELS study, initial data were collected on three age cohorts of children in 2004 2005 (Table 3.8). Th e current study used the results o f the first, second, and third releases of the PEELS micro level data from 200 5 2008 as well as the fourth release of da ta in 2010. The independent variables are the ratings of activities taken from the Early Childhood Teacher Questionnaire. T eachers were asked to rate the most frequent, second most frequent, and third most frequent activity engaged in by each child in the classroom.

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91 The dependent variables are the ratings in preschool and kindergarten from the Social Cooperation Scale, Social Interaction Scale, Social Independence Scale, Externalizing Problems Scale, and Internalizing Problems Scale from the Preschool and Kin dergarten Behavior Scales and the Problem Behaviors and Social Skills Scales from the So cial Skills Rating System in 1 st grade, and 2 nd grade, temperament ratings from the Computer Assisted Telephone Interview, and the scores from the Letter Word Identification, Applied Problems, and Quantitative Concepts subtests of the Woodcock Johnson II I and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test in preschool, kindergarten, and 1 st grade (Appendix I) The Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales, the Social Sk ills Rating System and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test were included in the Early Childhood Teacher Questionnaire, Kindergarten Teacher Questionnaire, and E lementary Teacher Questionnaire The Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales, 2 nd Edition Sum mary/Response Form is included in Appendix J with permission from Pro Ed, Inc. A sample of the Social Skills Rating System is not included in the Appendix as permission was not granted from PsychCorp/Pearson due to concerns regarding test security. The Soc ial Skills Scales from the Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales include the Social Cooperation Scale, the Social Interaction Scale, and the Social I ndependence Scale. The initial measure and the measure one year later are derived from the PKBS 2 in y ears 1 and 2 with different raters each year. Inter rater agreement on the Preschool Kin dergarten Behavior Scales for teachers an d teacher aides was low to moderate for both Social Skills (.36 to .61) and Problem Beha vior (.42 to .63) Scales (Merrell, 2002 ). Gender specific social skills are derived from the Social

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9 2 Skills Rating System in years 3 and 4 with different raters each year Inter rater reliability coefficients for the total social skills subscales of the Soc ial Skills Rating Scales collapsed acro ss three levels (preschool, elementary, and secondary) are relatively low (Van der Oord, et al.,2005). Achenbach et al. (1987) suggest that the SSRS inter rater reliability coefficients are slightly better than most inter rater reliability ratings. The PEE LS restricted use data include individual child data, thus allowing for the use of m ultiple regression and multivariate analysis of variance, methods that allow for the combination of variables from multiple data sets. The relationship between free play ac tivity choice social competence, and academic competence was tested through regress ion analyses that examined the relationship of free play activity choice and Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales 2 scores, Social Skills Rating System scores, temper ament ratings from the CATI, achievement as measured by the Woodcock Johnson III and receptive language as measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. Multiple Regression Models: y 1 = a + B 1 x 1 + B 2 x 2 + B 3 x 3 + B 4 x 4 + B 5 x 5 + B 6 x 6 + B 7 x 7 + B 8 x 8 + B 9 x 9 + B 10 x 10 + B 1 1 x 1 1 + B 1 2 x 1 2 + B 1 3 x 1 3 + B 1 4 x 1 4 + B 1 5 x 1 5 + B 1 6 x 1 6 + B 1 7 x 1 7 + B 1 8 x 1 8 + B 1 9 x 1 9 + B 20 x 20 + B 21 x 21 + B 22 x 22 + E y 2 = a + B 1 x 1 + B 2 x 2 + B 3 x 3 + B 4 x 4 + B 5 x 5 + B 6 x 6 + B 7 x 7 + B 8 x 8 + B 9 x 9 + B 10 x 10 + B 1 1 x 1 1 + B 1 2 x 1 2 + B 1 3 x 1 3 + B 1 4 x 1 4 + B 1 5 x 1 5 + B 1 6 x 1 6 + B 1 7 x 1 7 + B 1 8 x 1 8 + B 1 9 x 1 9 + B 20 x 20 + B 21 x 21 + B 22 x 22 + E

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93 y 3 = a + B 1 x 1 + B 2 x 2 + B 3 x 3 + B 4 x 4 + B 5 x 5 + B 6 x 6 + B 7 x 7 + B 8 x 8 + B 9 x 9 + B 10 x 10 + B 1 1 x 1 1 + B 1 2 x 1 2 + B 1 3 x 1 3 + B 1 4 x 1 4 + B 1 5 x 1 5 + B 1 6 x 1 6 + B 1 7 x 1 7 + B 1 8 x 1 8 + B 1 9 x 1 9 + B 20 x 20 + B 21 x 21 + B 22 x 22 + E Dependent Variables: x 1 = Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales 2 : Social Cooperation Standard Score at years 1 and 2 (SCOOP1, SCOOP2) x 2 = Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales 2 : Social Interaction Standard Score at years 1 and 2 (SCINT1, SCINT2) x 3 = Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales 2 : Social Independence Standard Score at years 1 and 2 (SCIND1, SCIND2) x 4 = Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales 2 : Externalizing Problems Standard Score at years 1 and 2 (EXT1, EXT2) x 5 = Preschool and Kind ergarten Behavior Scales 2 : Internalizing Problems Standard Score at years 1 and 2 (INT1, INT2) x 6 = Social Skills Rating System: Social Skills Girls Standard Score at years 3 and 4 (SOCG3, SOCG4) x 7 = Social Skills Rating System: Social Skills Boys Standa rd Score at years 3 and 4 (SOCB3, SOCB4) x 8 = Social Skills Rating System: Problem Behavior Girls Standard Score at years 3 and 4 (PBG3, PBG4) x 9 = Social Skills Rating System: Problem Behavior Boys Standard Score at years 3 and 4 (PBB3, PBB4) x 10 = Jumpy and easily startled (TEMP1)

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94 x 1 1 = Pays attention to things and stays focused on what they are doing (even when things are going on around them) (TEMP2) x 1 2 = Likes to do things on their own even if it is hard (TEMP3) x 1 3 = Restless, fidgets a lot, and has trouble sitting still (e.g. very active and age that requires sitting still) (TEMP4) x 1 4 = Tries to finish things even if it takes a long time (TEMP5) x 1 5 = Gets easily involved in everyday things that go on at home, like playing with toys, or paying attention to the conversations (TEMP6) x 1 6 out very well (TEMP7) x 1 7 = Great deal of difficulty ad justing to changes in their routines or schedules (TEMP8) x 1 8 = Frequently anxious or depressed (TEMP9) x 1 9 = Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test Standard Score at years 1, 2, and 3 (PPVT1, PPVT2, PPVT3) x 20 = Woodcock Johnson III: Letter Word Identification S tandard Score at years 1, 2, and 3 (LW1, LW2, LW3) x 21 = Woodcock Johnson III: Applied Problems Standard Score at years 1, 2, and 3 (AP1, AP2, AP3) x 22 = Woodcock Johnson III: Quantitative Concepts at years 2 and 3 (QC2, QC3) Independent Variables : y 1 = Most Frequent Free Play Activity Choice in year 1 (ACT1 ) y 2 = Second Most Frequent Free Play Activity Choice in year 1 (ACT2 )

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95 y 3 = Third Most Frequent Free Play Activity Choice in year 1 (ACT3 ) The relationship between free play activity choice and achiev ement as measured by the above named variables was examined initially for children in preschool and one, two, and three years later d was used as the effect (1992) suggests that effect sizes of .20 are small, .50 are medium, and .80 are large. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to examine possible differences between independent and dependent var iables. The covariates of disability and race were analyzed by multivariate a nalysis of covariance (MANCOVA) in order to det ermine if the relationship between social skills, probl em behavior, and academic achievement differs by disability of the same or different cohort, as well as children who differ by gender in the same or diff erent cohort. H ousehold income is potentially a confounding variable that may influence relationships between independent and dependent variables and thus w as controlled by keeping this variable constant in th e current study. A 2 X 4 cohort design (two age cohorts across four years) ins tead of the 3 X 4 cohort design used in the PEELS study was used for the data analysis as the number of participants in cohort A was too small for a reliable comparison of data. The F test, representing the ratio of systematic to unsystematic variance in the model, was use d to detect significant difference among two or more groups when there were two or more dependent variables. A p < or equal to alpha (.05) signifies significant difference. Each hypothesis was tested at the .01 and .05 level of significance. Commercial sof tware, specifically SPSS v.19 was used for the analysis. Initially, descriptive statistics were obtained on all variables The most frequent, second most frequent, and third most frequent child directed activity during free play

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96 was derived across and within each cohort in order to address the first research question Next, ANOVAs were performed in order to determine significant differences between the variables of free play activity choice and setting across and within each cohort in order to answer th e second research question In order to address the third, fourth, and fifth research questions, ANOVAs were performed on each of the dependent variables. S ocial cooperation, social interaction, and social independence scale scores serve d as the dependent variables in years 1 and 2 and gender specific social skills scale scores served as the dependent variable s in years 3 and 4 for the third research question. E xternalizing problems and internalizing problems served as the dependent variables in years 1 an d 2 and gender specific problem behavior scale scores served as the dependent variables in years 3 and 4 for the fourth research question. For the fifth research question, the most frequent, second most frequent, and third most frequent free play activity choices served as the Disability and gender ser ved as covariates in all years. ANOVAs were conducted in order to examine the sixth research question. Achievement scores fro m the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement, Third Edition: Letter Word Identification, Applied Problems, and Quantitative Concepts subtests and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test in year 1, year 2, and year 3 served as the dependent variables. The result s from the fourth research question (e.g. free play activity choice x problem behaviors) served as the independent variables. Within year comparisons of the dependent variables were not conducted as the focus of the study

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97 question s pertain to between group differences over time and not within group differences for each year Contrasts were calculated to see which groups differ from others by a combination of scores on several dependent measures. Multiple ANOVAs were utilized rather than using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). T he ability of MANOVA to detect an effect that genuinely exists is controversial. Ramsey (1982) found that the power of MANOVA decreased as the correlation between dependent variables increased (i.e. groups were similar to on e another) As a result, Tabachnick & Fidell (2001) recommended that MANOVA works best with highly negatively correlated (i.e. diverse) dependent variables, relatively well with moderately correlated dependent variables in either direction and that MANOVA is unnecessary when dependent var iables are uncorrelated Cole et al (1994) found that the power of MANOVA depends on a combination of the correlation between dependent variables and the effect size. For example, if a large effect size is expected, then MANOVA will have greater power if the measures are somewhat different (even negatively correlated) and if the group differences are in the same direction for each measure. However, if one of the dependent variables exh ibits a large group difference and one exhibits a small or no group difference, then power will be increased if these variables are highly correlated. The power of MANOVA is detected best by considering the intercorrelation between dependent variables as well as the expected size and pattern o f group differences. Results from the contrasts suggested high correlations between some dependent measures and no correlation between other dependent measures. A

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98 moderate effect size was expected. Multiple ANOVAs were utilized to address the sixth rese arch question because the use of MANOVA is unnecessary when dependent variables are uncorrelated and the power of MANOVA decreases as the correlation between dependent variables increases. Although the level of significance m ay be reduced with the use of m ultiple ANOVAs, Bonferroni corrections were applied to counteract the error added with each univariate analysis.

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99 Table 3 1. Definition of age cohorts in PEELS study and current study Cohort Age at entry into PEELS Date of Birth A 3 years old 3/1/00 through 2/28/01 B 4 years old 3/1/99 through 2/29/00 C 5 years old 3/1/98 through 2/28/99 Table 3 2. N umber of children in the PEELS study and the current study (CS) by gender and cohort Number of Children Male Female PEELS CS PEELS CS PEELS CS Total 3,104 148 2,189 96 915 52 Cohort A 986 ---692 ---293 ---Cohort B 1,125 76 802 53 322 23 Cohort C 993 72 695 43 300 29 Table 3 3. Race of children in the PEELS study and the current study (CS) by cohort Number of Children White AA or Black Asian Ethnicity PEELS CS PEELS CS PEELS CS PEELS CS PEELS CS Total 3,104 148 2015 75 331 23 ----9 662 41 Cohort A --------------Cohort B 76 40 9 ----5 22 Cohort C 72 35 14 ----4 19 *Ethnicity consists of Hispanic, Latino, or other Spanish origin

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100 Table 3 4. N umber of children in the PEELS study and the current study (CS) sample by household income and cohort Number of Children < $20,000 $20,000 30,000 $30,000 40,000 $40,000 50,000 > $50,000 PEELS CS PEELS CS PEELS CS PEELS CS PEELS CS PEELS CS 3,104 148 959 46/58 336 16/41 521 25/29 354 17 916 44/3 Cohort A 7 3 --2 --2 Cohort B 76 30 27 10 8 1 Cohort C 72 28 14 19 9 2

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101 Table 3 5. Number of children in the PEELS study and the current study (CS) with developmental delay and without disabilities Number of children Children with DD Children w/o disability PEELS CS PEELS CS PEELS CS Total 3,104 148 806 96 96 52 Cohort A 986 ---328 ---13 ---Cohort B 1,125 76 280 51 29 25 Cohort C 993 72 198 45 54 27 Table 3 6. Table of Normative Measures Measures Purpose Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales, Second Edition (PKBS 2 ), Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) To identify problem behaviors and social skills (e.g. Problem Behaviors Scale; Social Skills Scale) Woodcock Johnson Third Edition (WJ III) To measure literacy (Letter Word Identification subtest ) and math achievement ( Applied Problems subtest ; Quantitative Concepts subtest ) Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) To measure receptive vocabulary Early Childhood Teacher Questionnaire, Kindergarten Teacher Questionnaire, Elementary Teacher Questionnaire To identify the most frequent activities chosen by the child Computer Assisted Telephone Interview Parent Questionnaire age, and disability type.

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102 Table 3 7. Total number of respo ndents for each PEELS instrument Instrument Type Wave 1 Wave 2 Wave 3 Frequency Response Rate (%) Frequency Response Rate (%) Frequency Response Rate (%) CATI Parent Questionnaire 2,802 96 2,893 93 2,719 88 LEA questionnaire 207 84 --------Teacher mail questionnaire 2, 287 79 2,591 84 2,514 81 Early childhood questionnaire 2,018 79 1,320 86 346 82 Kindergarten teacher questionnaire 269 73 957 79 992 81 Elementary teacher questionnaire ----314 86 1,176 81 Child Assessment 2,794 96 2,932 94 2,891 93 Alternate assessment 331 93 228 79 165 93

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103 Table 3 8. Child Measures Measure Wave 1 Wave 2 Wave 3 Cohort Cohort Cohort A B C A B C A B C Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) X X X X X X X X X Woodcock Johnson III: Letter Word Identification X X X X X X X X X Woodcock Johnson III: Applied Problems X X X X X X X X X Woodcock Johnson III: Quantitative Concepts X X X X X X CATI Parent Questionnaire X X X X X X X X X PKBS 2 X X X X X X SSRS X X X Early Childhood Teacher Questionnaire X X X X X X X X X Kindergarten Teacher Questionnaire X X X X X X X X X Elementary Teacher Questionnaire X X X X X X

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104 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This study examined the relationship of free play activity choice, disability, and problem behaviors on the concurrent and later academic and social competence of preschool children. The purpose of this chapter is to present the findings of the study in relation to the research questions. Frequency of Free Play Activity Choice The first research question asks about the frequency of free play activity choice for each age cohort. It was expected that free play activity choice would differ by chronological age. D escriptive statistics were obtained on a ll variables Frequency statistics were calculated in order to determine the first, second and third most frequent child directed activity during free play. Statistics were derived across and within each cohort in order to address the first research quest ion. Children in the current study ( n = 148) choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 25) as the most frequent activity choice during child directed free play (Fig. 4 1). The second most frequent free play activity choice is blocks, LEGO s other building toys ( n = 10) and the third most frequent activity choice is sand and water play ( n = 10). Disability Children with developmental delay ( n = 96) choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 18) as the most frequent activity choice during child directed free play (Fig. 4 2). Children with developmental delay choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys as the second most frequent activity choice ( n = 9) and choose sand and water

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105 play ( n = 7) or commercial educational toys (e.g. Lite Brite puzzles, sorting cups, bead stringing) ( n = 6) as the third most frequent activity choice. Children without disabilities ( n = 52) choose alphabet and language materials ( n = 8) as the most frequent activity choice during child directed free play followed by blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 7) (Fig. 4 3). Children without disabilities choose counting and number materials as the second most frequent activit y choice ( n = 5) azines as the third most frequent activity choice ( n = 5). Chronological Age Four year old children ( n = 76) choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 9) as the most frequent activity choice during child directed free play followed by toy vehicles and work machines (e.g. cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders ( n = 8) (Table 4 1) Four year old children choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 5) or a playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food ( n = 5) or dress up, costumes, puppets, theater props ( n = 5) as the second most frequent activity choice. Four year old children choose paper, colorin g books, crayons, pencils, pens ( n = 5) as the third most frequent activity choice. Five ye ar old children ( n = 72) choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 16) as the most frequent activity choice during child directed free play (Table 4 2) Five year old children choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 5) or sand and water play ( n = 5) or alphabet and language materials ( n = 5) as the second most frequent activity choice. Five year old children choose sand and water play ( n = 6) as the third most frequent activity choice.

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106 Disability and age. F our year old children with de velopmental delay ( n = 51) choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys most frequently during child directed free play, toy vehicles and work machines (e.g. cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders) as the second most frequent a ctivity choice, and arts and crafts projects and materials, clay or Play Doh the third most frequent activity choice ( Table 4 1 ). Four year old children without disabilities (n = 25) choose alphabet and language materials as the most frequent activity dur ing free play and a playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes and plastic food as the second most frequent activity choice. No activity was indicated for the third most frequent activity choice ( Table 4 1 ). F ive year old children with de velopmental delay ( n = 45) c hoose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys as the most frequent activity choice during child directed free play and arts and crafts projects and materials, clay or Play Doh as the second most frequent activity (Table 4 2) No activity was indicated for the third most frequ ent activity choice Five year old children without disabilities ( n = 27) choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys as the most frequent activity choice during child directed free play, alphabet and language ma terials as the seco nd most activity choice (Table 4 2) Summary. Children choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in pre school. Children with developmental delay choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool and children without disabilities choose alphabet and language materials more frequently during free play in presch ool. Both four year old and five year old

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107 children choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool. Both four year old children and five year old children with developmental delay choose blocks, LEGOs K or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool. Four year old children without disabilities choose alphabet and language materials more frequently during free play in preschool and five year old children without disabilities ch oose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool. The more frequent choice of free play activity by children with developmental delay (and by both four and five year old children with developmental delay) s uggests a preference for constructive play activi ties. The more frequent choice of free play activity by children without disabilities (and by f our year old children without disabilities ) suggests a preference for school readiness activities. F ive year old children without disabilities seemingly prefer constructive play activities before school readiness activities Children in both age cohorts were expected to choose free play activities relative to their developmental age (i.e. constructive play activities in younger children versus dramatic play activities in older children). Results from this study suggest that c hildren without disabilities differ by age in their most frequent activity choice during free play in preschool. These results support the hypothesis that the most frequent free play activity choice differs by chronological age of children without disabilities. Children with developmental delay do not differ by age in their most frequent activity choice. These results do not support the h ypothesis pertaining to children with developmental delay in

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108 that both four and five year old children choose the same activity more frequently during free play. Free Play Activity Choice and Available Activities The second research question asked whether the frequency of free play activity choice is related to the activities that are made available to the children pr ovided that some portion of time is spent in child directed activities. It is expected that there will be a direct relationship between free play activity choice and the activities available in the were performed in order to determine significant differences between the variables of free play activity choice and activities available within the presc hool setting across and within each cohort in order to answer the second research question. There was no difference in type of program between the two age cohorts; hence any difference in free play activity choice is unrelated to program type. There is no t a significant difference between type of class (e.g. early childhood class with other children) ( p = .728) and the amount of time spent in child directed activities ( p = .150). H ence any difference in free play activity choice is unlikely to be related t o either type of class or time spent in child directed activities (Table 4 3) Children spent an average of 18.27 ( SD = 18.64, min. = 1, max. = 75) hours weekly in child directed activities including free play. Chronological Age Four year old children s pent an average of 29.26 ( SD = 19.52, min. = 1, max. = 75) hours weekly in child selected activities including free play (Table 4 3) Four year old children with developmental delay ( n = 33) have an average of 20.364 ( SD = 3.131, min. = 12, max. = 25) act ivities available for child directed free play and four year old

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109 children without disabilities ( n = 10) have an average of 21.300 ( SD = 2.359, min.= 17, max. = 25) activities available for child directed free play. Five year old children spent an average of 8.54 hours ( SD = 10.989, min = 1, max. = 44) weekly in child selected activities including free play (Table 4 3) Five year old children with developmental delay ( n = 30) have an average of 14.867 ( SD = 4.224, min. = 6, max. = 23) activitie s available for child directed free play and five year old children without disabilities ( n = 21) have an average of 16.619 ( SD = 4.653, min.= 8, max. = 25) activities available for child directed free play. Disability The most frequent activities available for children with developmental delay ( n = 98) are arts and crafts projects and materials, clay or Play Doh ( n = 61), Blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 61), a playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plasti c food ( n n = 59) (Table 4 4). The most frequent activities available for children without disabilities ( n = 52) are arts and crafts projects and materials, clay or Play Doh ( n = 31), alphabet and language materials ( n n = 30), blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 29), and a playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food ( n = 29) (Table 4 4). Disability and age. The most freque nt activities available for four year old children with developmental delay ( n = 36) are arts and crafts projects and materials, clay, or Play Doh ( n = 33), blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 33), a playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food ( n ( n = 32), paper, coloring books, crayons, pencils, pens ( n = 32), playground equipment

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110 (e.g. climbing structure, swings, trikes, digging tools) ( n = 32), balls of various sizes, Nerf style toys, sports equipm ent ( n = 32), dolls and stuffed animals ( n = 32), commercial educational toys (e.g. Lite Brite puzzles, sorting cups, bead stringing) ( n = 32), and counting and number materials ( n = 32) (Table 4 4). Among four year old children with developmental delay, 91.67% have the most frequent activity choice (e.g. blocks, LEGOs or other building toys), 86.11% have the second most frequent activity choice (e.g. toy vehicles and work machines such as cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders) and 91.67% have the third most frequent activity choice (e.g. arts and crafts projects and m aterials, clay or Play Doh ) available in their classroom. The most frequent activities available for four year old children without disabilities are alphabet and language materials ( n n = 20), blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 19), a playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food ( n = 19), computer and software ( n = 19), and flashcards ( n = 19) (Table 4 4). Among four year old children without disabilities, 100% have the most frequent activity choice (e.g. alphabet and language materials) and the second most activity choice (e.g. a playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food) available in their classroom. The most frequent activities available for five year old children with developmental delay ( n = 30) are blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 28), a playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food ( n = 28), and computer and software ( n = 28) (Table 4 4). Among five year old children with developmental delay, 93.33% have the most frequent ac tivity choice (e.g. blocks, LEGOs or other building

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111 toys) and the second most frequent activity choice (e.g. arts and crafts projects and materials, clay or Play Doh ) available in their classroom. The most frequent activities available for five year old children without disabilities ( n = 21) are alphabet and language materials ( n ( n = 20), blocks, LEGOs or other building toys ( n = 19), a playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food ( n = 19), computer and software ( n = 19), and flashcards ( n = 19) (Table 4 4). Among five year old children without disabilities, 90.48% have the most frequent activity choice (e.g. blocks, LEGOs or other building toys), 100% have the second most f requent activity choice (e.g. alphabet and language books and magazines) available in their classrooms. Summary. F ree play activity choic e is unrelated to program type (e.g Head Start), t ype of class (e.g. Early Childhood) or the amount of time spent in child directed activities [F = 1.391 (19, 26, ( p = .214)] (with the exception of five year old children). Four year old children spend more time in child directed activities per week (29 hours) than five year old children (8 hours). Among five year old children, the most frequent free play activity choice is related to the amount of time spent in child directed activities [F = 4.547, 14, 37 ( p <.001)]. Four year old children with developmental delay have fewer activities available for child directed free play (e.g. 20) than four year old children without disabilities (e.g. 21). Five year old children with developmental delay have fewer activities available for child directed f ree play (e.g. 15) than five year old children without disabilities (e.g. 17).

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112 Children with developmental delay choose one of the most frequently available activities in the classroom (e.g. arts and crafts projects and materials, clay or Play Doh Block s, LEGOs or other building toys) more frequently during free play in preschool. Children without disabilities choose one of the most frequently available activities (e.g. arts and crafts projects and materials, clay or Play Doh alphabet and lan guage materials) more frequently during free play in preschool. Four year old children with development delay choose one of the most frequent activities (e.g. arts and crafts projects and materials, clay, or Play Doh blocks, LEGOs or other buil ding toys) available in the classroom more often during free play in preschool. Free play activity choice of four year old children with developmental delay [F = .753, 11, 21 ( p = .680)] is unrelated to the activities that are available in the classroom. Four year old children without disabilities choose the most frequent activity (e.g. alphabet and language materials) available in the classroom more often during free play in preschool. Free play activity choice of four year old children without disabiliti es [F = .503, 5, 4 ( p = .765)] is unrelated to the activities that are available in the classroom. These results do not support the hypothesis because there is not a relationship between the most frequent free play activity choice and the activities made a vailable in the classroom. Five year old children with developmental delay choose the most frequent activity available (e.g. blocks, LEGOs or other building toys) more often during free play in preschool. Among five year old children with devel opmental delay, free play activity choice is significantly related to the activities that are available in the

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113 classroom [F = 2.578, 14, 14 ( p = .044)]. These results support the hypothesis that there is a direct relationship between the frequency of free play activity choice and the activities that are made available in the classroom. Five year old children without disabilities choose the third most frequent activity blocks, L EGOs or other building toys) more often during free play in preschool. Among five year old children without disabilities, free play activity choice is unrelated to the activities that are available in the classroom [F = 3.79, 11, 9 ( p = .934)]. T hese results do not support the hypothesis because there is not a relationship between the most frequent activity choice and the activities made available most frequently in the classroom. Free play Activity Choice and Social Skills The third research que stion asked whether there is a relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and the display of social competence in preschool, kindergarten, 1 st grade, and/or 2 nd grade It was expected that there would be a direct relationship between free play activity choice in pr eschool and social competence in preschool, kindergarten 1 st grade, and 2 nd grade. In order to address the research question, ANOVAs were performed on each of the dependent variables. Data on ocial cooperation, social interaction, and social independence skills indicated on the PKBS 2 serve d as the dependent variables in preschool and kindergarten. Data on gender specific social skills indicated on the SSRS served as the dependent variable s in 1 st grade and 2 nd grade. Higher ratings on these measures

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114 indicate a higher de gree of social competence. Disability and gender ser ved as covariates. Disability Among children with developmental delay ( n = 96), free play activity choice in preschool is rel ated to social cooperation skills in preschool [F = 2.139. 14, 52 ( p = .024)] and social independence skills in kindergarten [F = 2.650, 13, 38 ( p = .010)] (Table 4 5 ) That is, children with developmental delay who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys most frequently during child directed free play in preschool display average social cooperation skills ( M = 103.17, SD = 13.008) in preschool and average social independence skills ( M = 100.43, SD = 13.461) in kindergarten. These r esults could not be compared to those of children without disabilities because children without disabilities choose alphabet and language materials more frequently than blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during child directed free play. Among c hildren without disabilities ( n = 52), free play activity choice in preschool st grade [F = 9.014, 5, 8 ( p = .004)] (Table 4 5 ). That is, boys without disabilities who choose alphabet and language materials most freque ntly during child directed free play in preschool display high average social skills in 1 st grade ( M = 107.75, SD = 7.805). These results could not be compared to results of boys with developmental delay because boys with developmental delay choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently than alphabet and language materials during child directed free play.

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115 Chronological Age Among four year old children ( n = 76), free play activity choice in preschool is related to social cooperation skills in preschool [F= 2.741, 11, 34 ( p = .012)]. That is, four year old children who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during child direct ed free play in preschool display average social cooperation skills in preschool ( M = 106.44, SD = 11.035). Social cooperation skills in preschool of four year old children who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during child directed fre e play are comparable to results of five year old children who choose the same activity during child directed free play. Among five year old children ( n = 72), free play activity choice in preschool is related to social cooperation skills in preschool [F = 2.126, 12, 39 ( p = .038)], social interaction skills in preschool [F = 2.939, 12, 39 ( p = .005)], social independence skills in preschool [F = 2.909, 12, 39 ( p = .006)], and social independence skills in kindergarten [F = 2.549, 12, 32 ( p = .017)]. That i s, five year old children who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during child directed free play in preschool display average social cooperation skills in preschool ( M = 101.19, SD = 16.558), low average social interactio n skills in preschool ( M = 88.19, SD = 17.015), average social independence skills in preschool ( M = 92.06, SD = 17.125), and average social independence skills in kindergarten ( M = 100.86, SD = 13.231). Disability and age. Among four year old children with developmental delay ( n = 51), the most frequent activity choice in preschool is related to social cooperation skills in preschool [F = 2.994 1 0 25 ( p = .01 3 )] (Table 4 6 ). That is, four year old children with developmental delay who choose blocks, L EGOs or other building toys

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116 more frequently during child directed free play display average social cooperation skills in preschool ( M = 104.75, SD = 10.471). These results could not be compared to results of four year old children without disabi lities because four year old children without disabilities choose alphabet and language materials more frequently than blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during child directed free play. Among four year old children without disabilities ( n = 25 ), the most frequent activity choice during child directed free play in preschool is unrelated to social cooperation skills, social interaction skills, and social independence skills in preschool and kindergarten, st grade and/or in 2 nd grade. Among five year old children with developmental delay ( n = 45 ) the most frequent activity choice in preschool i s related to social cooperation skills in preschool [F = 2.696 1 0 20 ( p = .0 2 8), social interaction skills in pre school [F = 3.180 1 0, 20 ( p = .013 )], social independence skills in preschool [F = 2.596 1 0 20 ( p = .033 )], and social independence skills in kindergarten [F = 3.904 9 15 ( p = .01 0 )] (Table 4 6 ). That is, five year old children with developmental delay who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys most frequently during child directed free play in preschool display average social cooperation skills ( M = 101.90, SD = 15.176), low average social interaction skills ( M = 86.40, SD = 15.116), average social independence skills in preschool ( M = 91.60, SD = 15.284), and average social independence skills in kindergarten ( M = 98.50, SD = 12.212). Results of five year old children with developm ental delay are comparable to results of five year old children without disabilities. Five year old children without disabilities who choose the same activity as five year old children with developmental delay, display average social

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117 cooperation skills ( M = 100.00, SD = 20.130), average social interaction skills ( M = 91.17, SD = 10.980), and average social independence skills in preschool ( M = 92.83, SD = 21.405), and average social independence skills in kindergarten ( M = 104.00, SD = 15.020). Among five year old children without disabilities ( n = 27), activity choice during child directed free play in preschool is unrelated to social cooperation skills, social interaction skills, and social independence skills in preschool and kindergarten, st grade and/or in 2 nd grade. Summary. The research question asks about the relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and the display of social competence Results of children with developmental delay provide support for a relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and social cooperation skills in preschool and social independence skills in kindergarten Results of children with developmental delay are comparable to results of children without disabilities who choose the same activity as children with developmental delay during child directed free play in preschool. Results of children without disabilities provide support for a relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and boys st grade. These results were not compared to those of children with developmental delay. Results of four year old children and four year old children with developmental delay provide support for a relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and social cooperation skills in preschool. These results were not compared to those of children without disabilities. Results of four year old children without disabilities do not provide support for a relationship between free play a ctivity choice in preschool and

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118 social cooperation skills, social interaction skills, and social independence skills in st grade and 2 nd grade. Re sults of five year old children and five year old children w ith developmental delay provide support for a relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and social cooperation skills, social interaction skills, and social independence skills in preschool, and social independence skills in kindergarten. Results of five year old children and five year old children with disabilities do not provide support for a relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and social cooperation skills, social interaction skills, and social independence skill s in preschool and kindergarten, st grade and 2 nd grade. Results of five year old children with developmental delay are comparable to results of five year old children without disabilities who choose the same activity as five year old children with developmental delay during child directed free play. It was expected that there would be a direct relationship between free play acti vity choice in preschool and social competence in preschool, kindergarten 1 st grade, and 2 nd grade. Results of children with developmental delay, children without disabilities, four year old children, five year old children, four year old children with developmental delay, four year old children without disabilities, five year old children with developmental delay, and five year old children without disabilities, do not support the hypothesis in that a relationship between free play activity choice and social competence could not be demonstrated on all measures in preschool or all measures in ki ndergarten, and could not be demonstrated on either measure in 1 st grade or 2 nd grade.

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119 Free Play Activity Choice and Problem Behavior The fourth research question asks about the relationship between free play oblem behavi ors in preschool, kindergarten, 1 st grade, and/or 2 nd grade ANOVAs were performed on e ach of the dependent variables to address the research question. E xternalizing problems and internalizing problems indicated on the PKBS 2 served as the dependent variables in preschool and kindergarten, and gender specific problem behaviors indicated on the SSRS served as the dependent variables in 1 st grade and 2 nd grade. Higher ratings on these measures indicate a higher degree of problem behaviors. Disability and gender ser ved as covariates. A direct relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and problem behaviors in preschool, kindergarten, 1 st grade and 2 nd grade is expected. Disability Among chi ldren with developmental delay ( n =96), the most frequent free play activity choice in preschool is related to externalizing problems in preschool [F = 2.927, 14, 52 ( p = .002)], internalizing problems in preschool [F = 2.243, 14, 52 ( p = .018)], and inter nalizing problems in kindergarten [F = 2.164, 13, 38 ( p = .032)] (Table 4 7 ). That is, children with developmental delay who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool display average externalizing p roblems in preschool ( M = 93.78, SD = 11.715), average internalizing problems in preschool ( M = 97.94, SD = 12.781), and average internalizing problems in kindergarten ( M = 91.43, SD = 11.554). These results could not be compared to those of children witho ut disabilities because children without disabilities choose alphabet and language

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120 materials more frequently than blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during child directed free play. Among children without disabilities ( n = 52), free play activity choice in preschool is related to internalizing problems in preschool [F = 2.632, 11, 19 ( p problem behaviors in 1 st grade, r = .755 [F = 5.261, 5, 8 ( p = .020)] (Table 4 7 ). That is, children without disabilit ies who choose alphabet and language materials more frequently during free play in preschool display an average degree of internalizing problems in preschool ( M = 91.29, SD = 13.060). Boys without disabilities who choose blocks, LEGOs or other bu ilding toys more frequently during free play in preschool display an average degree of problem behaviors in 1 st grade ( M = 102.20, SD = 10.545). These results are comparable to the results of boys with developmental delay. Boys with developmental delay who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool display an average degree of problem behaviors in 1 st grade ( M = 103.80, SD = 16.794). Chronological Age Among four year old children ( n = 76), free play activity choice in preschool is related to externalizing problems in preschool [F = 2.833, 11, 34 ( p = .010)] and internalizing problems in preschool [F = 2.440, 11, 34 ( p = .023)]. That is, four year old children who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool display an average degree of externalizing problems in preschool (M = 87.33, SD = 9.734) and an average degree of internalizing problems in preschool (M = 89.44, SD = 10.944). Results o f four year old children who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys and display an average degree of

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121 internalizing problems in preschool are comparable to those results of five year old children who choose the same activity during child dire cted free play. Among five year old children ( n = 72), free play activity choice in preschool is related to internalizing problems in preschool [F = 2.317, 12, 39 ( p = .024)]. That is, five year old children who choose blocks, LEGOs or other buil ding toys more frequently during free play in preschool display an average degree of internalizing problems in preschool ( M = 99.81, SD = 12.771). Disability and a ge Among four year old children with developmental delay ( n = 51 ), the most frequent free play activity choice (e.g. blocks, LEGOs or other building toys) in preschool is related to externalizing problems in preschool [F = 2.786, 10, 25 ( p = .018)] and inter nalizing problems in preschool [F = 3.237, 10, 25 ( p = .008)] (Table 4 8 ). That is, four year old children with developmental delay who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys most frequently during free play in preschool display an average degree of externalizing problems in preschool ( M = 88 .50, SD = 9.710) and an average degree of internalizing problems in preschool ( M = 91.00, SD = 10.583). These results could not be compared to those of four year old children without disabilities because four year old children without disabilities choose a lphabet and language materials more frequently than blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during child directed free play. Among four year old children without disabilities ( n =25), the most frequent activity choice during free play in preschool i s unrelated to internalizing and externalizing problems in preschool and in kindergarten, gender specific problem behaviors in 1 st grade, and gender specific problem behaviors in 2 nd grade (Table 4 8 )

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122 Among five year old children with developmental delay ( n = 45 ) and five year old children without disabilities ( n = 27 ), the most frequent free play activity choice in preschool is unrelated to internalizing and externalizing problems in preschool and in kindergarten, gender specific problem behaviors in 1 st grade, and gender specific problem behaviors in 2 nd grade (Table 4 8 ) Summary. The research question asks about the relationship between free play activity choice ors in preschool, kindergarten, 1 st grade, and 2 nd grade. Results of children with developmental delay provide support for a relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and externalizing and internalizing problems in preschool, and internalizing problems in kindergarten. These results ar e comparable to results of children without disabilities who choose the same activity during child directed free play. Results of children without disabilities provide support for a relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and internaliz ing st grade. These results were not compared to those of children with developmental delay. Results of four year old children provide support for a relationship between free play activity choice in pre school and externalizing problems in preschool and internalizing problems in preschool. Results of five year old children provide support for a relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and internalizing problems in preschool. Results of four year old children without disabilities, five year old children with developmental delay, and five year old children without disabilities do not support the hypothesis in that free play activity choice in preschool is unrelated to externalizing and

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123 in ternalizing problems in preschool, externalizing and internalizing problems in kindergarten, and gender specific problem behavior in 1 st grade and in 2 nd grade. A direct relationship between free play activity choice in preschool and problem behaviors in preschool, kindergarten 1 st grade, and 2 nd grade was expected. Results of children with developmental delay, children without disabilities, four year old children, five year old children, four year old children with developmental delay, four year old chi ldren without disabilities, five year old children with developmental delay, and five year old children without disabilities do not support the hypothesis in that a relationship between free play activity choice and problem behaviors could not be demonstra ted on all measures in preschool or all measures in kindergarten, and could not be demonstrated on either measure in 1 st grade or 2 nd grade. Disability, Problem Behavior, and Social and Academic Competence It was expected that children with developmental delay and problem behaviors would display less social and academic competence than children without disabilities and without problem behaviors. Problem behaviors were defined by standard scores (derived either in preschool and/or kindergarten) on the PKBS 2 Internalizing and/or Externalizing Scales greater than 1 SD above the mean (116 and higher). No problem behaviors were defined by standard scores (derived either in preschool and/or kindergarten) on the PKBS 2 Internalizing and/or Externalizing Scales le ss than 1 SD below the mean (84 and lower). Free play activity choice in preschool of five year old children with developmental delay and with problem behaviors ( n = 16), five year old children without disabilities and without problem behaviors ( n = 16), four year old children with developmental delay and problem behaviors ( n = 9), and four year old

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124 children without disabilities and without problem behaviors ( n = 4) was not explored due to size of sample. Free Play Activity Choice and Temperament o f Preschool Children The fifth research question asks about the relationship between free play activity choice and temperament qualities of preschool children with and without problem behaviors. Problem behaviors were defined by standard scores (derived ei ther in preschool and/or kindergarten) on the PKBS 2 Internalizing and/or Externalizing Scales greater than 1 SD above the mean (116 and higher). No problem behaviors were defined by standard scores (derived either in preschool and/or kindergarten) on the PKBS 2 Internalizing and/or Externalizing Scales less than 1 SD below the mean (84 and lower). Disability Among children with developmental delay ( n = 96) free play activity choice is related to the quality o f getting involved easily [F = 3.610, 2 64 ( p =.033)] (Table 4 9) That is, children with developmental delay who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool are more likely to display the quality of getting involved easily. Among children without disabilities ( n = 52), the most frequent free play activity choice in preschool is unrelated to temperament qualities (Table 4 9 ). Problem Behaviors Among children with problem behaviors ( n = 42) and children without problem behaviors ( n = 59) th e most frequent free play activity choice in preschool is unrelated to temperament qualities.

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125 Disability and problem behaviors. Among children with developmental delay and problem behaviors ( n = 33), free play activity choice in preschool is related to the quality of having difficulty with change [F = 3.730, 2, 16 ( p = .047 )] (Table 4 10 ). That is, children with developmental delay and problem behaviors who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently are more likely to display t he quality of having difficulty with change Among children without disabilities and with problem behaviors ( n = 9), the relationship of free play activity choice in preschool and temperament was not explored due to size of sample (Table 4 1 0 ). Among children with developmental delay and without problem behaviors ( n = 33), free play activity choice in presc hool is related to the quality of enjoying to do things on his/her own [F = 4.192 2, 28 ( p = .0 26)] (Table 4 1 0 ). That is, children with developme ntal delay and without problem behaviors who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during free play in preschool are more likely to display the quality of enjoying to do things on his/her own than the other 8 qualities of temperament (e.g. being quiet and passive, b eing jumpy and easily startled, paying attention/staying focused, being very active and res tless, trying to finish things, being distracted by sights/sound s, having difficulty with change, being anxious/depressed often). Among chi ldren without disabilities and without problem behaviors ( n = 26) free play activity choice in preschool is unrelated to temperament qualities (Table 4 1 0 ). Summary The research question asks about the relationship between free play activity choice in pre school and temperament qualities of c hildren with and without problem behavi ors. The results of children without problem behaviors and children with developmental delay and problem behaviors provide support of a relationship between

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126 free play activity choi ce and the temperament quality of paying attention/staying focused. The results of children with developmental delay and without problem behaviors provide support of a relationship between free play activity choice and the temperament qualities of being qu iet and passive and/or paying attention/staying focused. The results of children with developmental delay, children without disabilities, and children with problem behaviors do not provide support for a relationship because free play activity choice in pre school is unrelated to temperament qualities. Free Play Activity Choice and Academic Competence The sixth research question asks t o what extent free play activity choice in preschool predict s student achievement in preschool, kindergarten and 1 st grade. The achievement in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade of children with developmental delay and problem behaviors is expected to differ by free play activity choice during preschool. Disability Among children with developmental delay ( n = 98), f ree play activity choice in preschool is related to receptive vocabulary skills in preschool [F = 1.952, 14, 28 ( p = .044)] (Table 4 1 1 ) That is, children with developmental delay who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more fre quently during free play in preschool di splay average receptive vocabulary skills in preschool ( M = 92.367, SD = 11.648) These results could not be compared with those of children without disabilities because children without disabilities choose alphabet and language materials more frequently than blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during free play.

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127 Free play act ivity choice in preschool of children without disabilities ( n = 52) is related to receptive vocabulary skills in kindergarten [F = 2.842, 11, 13 ( p = .038)] (Table 4 1 1 ) That is, children without disabilities who choose alphabet and language materials mor e frequently during free play in preschool display average receptive vocabulary skills in kindergarten ( M = 96.379, SD = 5.442 ) These results could not be compared with those of children with developmental delay because children with developmental delay c hoose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently than alphabet and language materials during free play. Chronological Age Free play activity choice in preschool of four year old children ( n = 76) is related to applied problems in 1 st g rade [F = 4.622, 11, 28 ( p = .001)] (Table 4 1 1 ). That is, four year old children who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during free play in preschool display below average applied problems skills in 1 st grade ( M = 84.50, SD = 9.975). These results are comparable (i.e. within 1 SD ) to those of five year old children who choose the same activity during free play. Five year old children who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during free play in preschool disp lay average applied problems skills in 1 st grade ( M = 96.75, SD = 19.018). Free play activity choice in preschool of five year old children ( n = 72) is unrelated to student achievement (Table 4 1 1 ). Disability and age. Among four year old children with de velopmental delay ( n = 51), free play activity choice is related to applied problems skills in 1 st grade [F = 4.480, 8, 22 ( p = .002)] (Table 4 1 2 ) That is, four year old children with developmental delay who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys display average applied

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128 problems skills in 1 st grade ( M = 92.00, SD =13.614). These results could not be compared to those of four year old children without disabilities because four year old children without disabilities choose alphabet and language materials more frequently than blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during free play. Among four year old children without disabilities ( n = 25), free play activity choice is related to receptive vocabulary skills in kindergarten [F = 2 8.535, 6, 2 ( p = .034)] (Table 4 1 2 ) That is, four year old children without disabilities who choose alphabet and language materials more frequently during child directed free play in preschool display average receptive vocabulary skills in kindergarten ( M = 94.66, SD = 2.505). These results could not be compared to those of four year children with developmental delay because four year old children with developmental delay choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently than alphabet and language materials during free play. Free play activity choice in preschool of five year old children with developmental delay ( n = 45) and five year old children without disabilities ( n = 27) is unrelated to academic competence (Table 4 12) Problem B ehaviors Free play activity choice in preschool of children with problem behaviors ( n = 42) is related to letter word identification skills in kindergarten [F = 4.611, 9, 10 ( p = .013)] (Table 4 1 1 ). That is, children with problem behaviors who choose bloc ks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool display average letter word identification skills in kindergarten ( M = 92.75, SD = 6.076). These results are comparable to those of children without problem behaviors who choose the same activity during free play. Children without problem behaviors who choose blocks,

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129 LEGOs or other building toys during free play in preschool display average letter word identification skills in kindergarten ( M = 99.08, SD = 13.708). Free play activity choice of children without problem behaviors ( n = 59) is unrelated to student achievement (Table 4 1 1 ). Disability and p roblem b ehaviors. Free play activity choice in preschool of children with developmental delay and with pr oblem behaviors ( n = 33) is related to receptive language skills in preschool [F = 3.971, 9, 7 ( p = .041)] (Table 4 1 3 ) That is, children with developmental delay and with problem behaviors who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more fr equently during free play in preschool display average receptive language skills in preschool ( M = 94.963, SD = 8.478). These results could not be compared with those of children without disabilities and without problem behaviors because children without d isabilities and without problem behaviors choose alphabet and language materials more frequently than blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during free play. Free play activity choice in preschool of children without disabilities and without probl em behaviors ( n = 26) is related to receptive vocabulary skills in kindergarten [F = 3.530, 7, 8 ( p = .049)] (Table 4 1 3 ) That is, children without disabilities and without problem behaviors who choose alphabet and language materials more frequently during free play in preschool display average receptive language skills in kindergarten (M = 94.125, SD = 7.906). These result s could not be compared with those of children with developmental delay and with problem behaviors because children with developmental delay and with problem behaviors choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently than alphabet and l anguage materials during free play.

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130 Chronological age and p roblem behaviors Free play activity choice in preschool of four year old children with problem behaviors ( n =10) could not be explored due to size of sample. Free play activity choice in preschool of four year old children without problem behaviors ( n = 24) is related to applied problems skills in preschool [F = 4.311, 7, 12 ( p = .031)] (Table 4 14) That is, four year old children without problem behaviors who choose blocks, LEGOs or oth er building toys more frequently during free play in preschool display average applied problems skills in preschool ( M = 99.29, SD = 8.379). These results are comparable with those of five year old children with problem behaviors who choose the same activi ty during free play. Five year old children with problem behaviors who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool display average applied problems skills in preschool ( M = 89.00, SD = 9.902) (Table 4 14) Free play activity choice in preschool of five year old children with problem behaviors ( n = 21) is related to letter word identification skills in kindergarten [F = 5.088, 5, 6 ( p = .036)] (Table 4 14) That is, five year old children with problem behaviors who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool display average letter word identification skills in kindergarten ( M = 92.75, SD = 6.076). These results are comparable with those of four year old children without problem behaviors who choose the same activity during free play. Four year old children without problem behaviors who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently during free play in preschool display average letter word identification skills in kindergarten ( M = 96.32, SD = 10.505) (Table 4 14)

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131 Free play activity choice in preschool of five year old children without problem behaviors ( n = 30) is unrelated to receptive language skills in preschool, k indergarten, and 1 st grade, letter word identification skills in preschool, kindergarten, and 1 st grade, applied problems skills in preschool, kindergarten, and 1 st grade, and quantitative concepts skills in kindergarten and 1 st grade (Table 4 14) Disability, age, and problem behaviors Free play activity choice in preschool of four year old children with developmental delay and with problem behaviors ( n = 9) four year old children with developmental delay and without problem behaviors ( n = 15), f our year old children without disabilities and with problem behaviors ( n = 2), and four year old children without disabilities and without problem behaviors ( n = 4) could not be explored due to size of sample. Free play activity choice in preschool of five year old children with developmental delay and with problem behaviors ( n = 16), five year old children with developmental delay and without problem behaviors (n = 4), five year old children without disabilities a nd with problem behaviors (n = 5 ) and five year old children without disabilities and without problem behavior s ( n = 14 ) could not be explored due to size of sample Summary. The research question asks whether free play activity choice in preschool is predictive of academic competence (e.g. st udent achievement in preschool, kindergarten and 1 st grade ) Free play activity choice in preschool of children with developmental delay is related to receptive vocabulary skills in preschool. These results were not compared to those of children without d isabilities. Free play activity choice in preschool of children without disabilities is related to receptive

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132 vocabulary skills in kindergarten. These results were not compared to those of children with developmental delay. Free play activity choice in pres chool of four year old children is related to applied problems in 1 st grade. These results were comparable with those of five year old children who choose the same activity during free play. Free play activity choice in preschool of four year old children with developmental delay is related to applied problems skills in 1 st grade. These results were comparable with those of five year old children without disabilities. Free play activity choice in preschool of children with problem behaviors is related to l etter word identification skills in kindergarten. These results were comparable with those of children without problem behaviors. Free play activity choice in preschool of children with developmental delay and with problem behaviors is related to receptive vocabulary skills in preschool. These results were not compared to those of children without disabilities and without problem behaviors. Free play activity choice in preschool of children without disabilities and without problem behaviors is related to re ceptive vocabulary skills in kindergarten. These results were not compared to those of children with developmental delay and with problem behaviors. Free play activity choice in preschool of five year old children with problem behaviors is related to lette r word identification skills in kindergarten. These results were comparable with those of four year old children without problem behaviors who choose the same activity during free play. Free play activity choice in preschool of four year old children witho ut problem behaviors is related to applied problems skills in preschool. These results were

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133 comparable with those of five year old children with problem behaviors who choose the same activity during free play. Results from this study provide support for a relationship between free play activity choice and academic achievement in receptive vocabulary skills, letter word identification skills, and applied problems skills among the following groups of children: children with developmental delay; children with out disabilities; four year old children; four year old children with developmental delay; children with problem behaviors; children with developmental delay and with problem behaviors; children without disabilities and without problem behaviors; five year old children with problem behaviors; and four year old children without problem behaviors. Free play activity choice in preschool of five year old children, five year old children with developmental delay, five year old children without disabilities, chi ldren without problem behaviors, five year old children without problem behaviors, and children with development al delay and problem behaviors is unrelated to academic competence. These results do not provide support of a relationship between free play act ivity choice and academic competence. Academic competence of children with developmental delay and problem behaviors is expected to differ by free play activity in preschool. Results from the current study do not support the hypothesis because free play activity choice in preschool of children with developmental delay and problem behaviors is unrelated to academic competence.

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134 Table 4 1 Most Frequent Activity Choice of Four Year Old Children Most Frequent Activity Choice Disability Gender Developmental Delay N/A M F Freq. % Choice Freq. Choice Freq. Choice Freq. Choice Freq. 2 9 20 2 8 29 3 2 8 4 3 14 8 17 14 7 4 2 14 4 5 3 4 7 15 1 6 1 2 1 2 1 6 13 4 5 29 2 Total: 3 0 65 1 = arts & crafts projects & materials, clay or Play Doh ; 2 = blocks, LEGOs other building toys; 4 = playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food; 5 = dress up, costumes, puppets, theater props; 14 = toys: vehicles & work machines cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders; 29 = alphabet & language materials N/A = Without Disabilities Table 4 2 Most Frequent Activity Choice of Five Year Old Children Most Frequent Activity Choice Disability Gender Developmental Delay N/A M F Freq. % Choice Freq. Choice Freq. Choice Freq. Choice Freq. 2 16 31 2 10 2 6 2 7 0 2 1 7 14 1 6 29 5 0 5 10 0 3 6 3 3 5 10 0 2 29 5 10 8 2 Total: 38 73 1 = arts & crafts projects & materials, clay or Play Doh ; 2 = blocks, LEGOs other building toys; pens; 29 = alphabet & language materials N/A = Without Disabilities

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135 Table 4 3. Time Spent in Child Selected Activities and Type of Class Free Play Activity By Setting Four Year Olds Five Year Olds % # Hours % # Hours Head Start Program 100.00 ---100.00 ---Early Childhood Class 61.00 ---41.00 ---Child Selected Activities ---29.26 ---8.54 Adult Directed Individual Activities ---7.88 ---4.03 Data Unavailable 28.00 40.00

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136 Table 4 4. Number of Children w ith Activity Available in the Classroom Free Play Activity Available With DD ( n = 98) W/O Disabilities ( n = 52) Four Year Olds Five Year Olds With DD ( n = 36) W/O Di sabilities ( n = 10) With DD ( n = 30) W/O D isabilities ( n = 21) Arts and crafts projects and materials, clay or Play Doh 2 ,3 61 31 33 18 27 18 Blocks, LEGOs other building toys 1 ,2 61 29 33 19 28 19 Sand and water play 2 38 15 26 6 12 6 Playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food 60 29 32 19 28 19 Dress up, costumes, puppets, theater props 55 23 31 13 24 13 magazines 3 59 30 32 20 27 20 Sensory table (e.g. cornmeal, beans and other tactile materials) 41 12 31 6 10 6 Paper, coloring books, crayons, pencils, pens 46 25 32 15 14 15 Playground equipment (e.g. climbing structure, swings, trikes, or bikes, digging tools) 49 23 32 13 16 13 Balls (of various size), Nerf style toys, sports equipment 50 25 32 16 18 16 Computer and software 52 28 24 19 28 19 Video games 19 11 1 10 18 10 Board games 32 16 25 9 7 9

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137 Table 4 4. Continued Free Play Activity Available With DD ( n = 98) W/O Disabilities ( n = 52) Four Year Olds Five Year Olds With DD ( n = 36) W/O Di sabilities ( n = 10) With DD ( n = 30) W/O D isabilities ( n = 21) Toy vehicle and work machines (e.g. cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders) 2 41 23 31 13 10 13 Commercial toys (e.g. action figures, Barbie ) 17 10 13 6 4 6 Commercial educational toys (e.g. Lite Brite puzzles, sorting cups, bead stringing) 3 57 28 32 18 25 18 Musical instruments 43 18 25 13 18 8 Tape or CD player with tapes and CDs 58 28 31 18 27 18 Nap/rest time 29 13 9 4 20 9 Commercial television/videotapes 16 9 11 6 5 6 Educational television/videotapes 24 21 16 13 8 13 Flashcards 34 23 16 19 18 19 Counting and number materials 2 43 26 32 16 11 16 Alphabet and language materials 1 ,2 51 31 31 21 20 21 1 Most frequent activity choice ; 2 Second most frequent activity choice ; 3 Third most frequent activity choice

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138 Table 4 5 Free Play Activity Choice and Social Skills of Children w ith Developmental Delay (DD) and Without Disabilities Free Play Activity Choice By With DD 1 ( n = 96) W/O Disabilities 1 n = 52) M/SD p M/SD p Social Cooperation Preschool 103.17/13.008 .024* 108.25/12.937 .663 Social Interaction Preschool 91.89/15.811 .101 101.00/12.154 .678 Social Independence Preschool 94.78/15.039 .079 109.00/ 9.071 .418 Social Cooperation Kindergarten 103.00/14.115 .652 104.38/15.231 .374 Social Interaction Kindergarte n 94.21/14.380 .272 100.25/13.698 .271 Social Independence Kindergarten 100.43/13.461 .010* 102.63/14.458 .079 1 st Grade 92.21/15.258 .974 107.75/7.805 .004* 1 st Grade 72.000 .947 107.33/20.404 .506 2 nd Grade 95.40/17.125 .172 113.75/6.400 .434 2 nd Grade 78.000 .335 97.67/16.197 .808 *.05 level of significance 1 Most frequent activity choice = blocks, LEGOs or other building toys

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139 Table 4 6 Free Play Activity Choice and Social Skills of Four and Five Year Olds Free Play Activity Choice By Five year olds with DD ( n = 45 ) Five year olds w/o disabilities ( n = 27 ) Four year olds with DD ( n = 51 ) Four year olds w/o disabilities ( n = 25 ) M/SD p M/SD p M/SD p M/SD p Social Cooperation Preschool 101.90/15.176 .028* 100.00/20.130 .615 104.75/10.471 .013* 101.33/14.640 .666 Social Interaction Preschool 86.40/15.116 .013* 91.17/20.980 .603 98.75/14.714 .064 104.00/12.490 .370 Social Independence Preschool 91.60/15.284 .033* 92.83/21.405 .329 98.75/14.714 .064 104.00/12.490 .370 Social Cooperation Kindergarten 102.63/17.113 .473 114.33/5.538 .396 ------------Social Interaction Kindergarten 90.50/ 15.766 .347 101.67/18.206 .696 ------------Social Independence Kindergarten 98.50/12.212 .010* 104.00/15.020 .550 ------------1 st Grade 80.63/ 37.902 .511 81.80/46.494 .120 92.14/ 9.873 .885 113.00/ 5.657 .173 1 st Grade 8.13/ 25.809 .418 15.60/37.119 .092 ---.973 125.00 ---2 nd Grade 81.22/ 33.988 .559 102.33/24.379 .715 99.86/19.187 .329 116.00/9.899 .303 2 nd Grade 7.78/ 26.333 .308 82.00 .770 ---.550 108.00 ---*.05 level of significance

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140 Table 4 7 Free Play Activity Choice and Problem Behaviors of Children With Developmental Delay (DD) and Without Disabilities Free Play Activity Choice By With DD ( n = 96 ) W/O Disabilities ( n = 52 ) M/SD p M/SD p Externalizing Problems Preschool 93.78/11.715 .002* 91.14/12.267 .602 Internalizing Problems Preschool 97.94/12.781 .018* 91.29/13.060 .031* Externalizing Problems Kindergarten 95.29/11.645 .103 87.57/ 8.384 .625 Internalizing Problems Kindergarten 91.43/11.554 .032* 89.71/15.217 .070 1 st Grade 107.00/12.391 .279 102.20/10.545 .020* 1 st Grade 130.00 .832 110.00 .523 2 nd Grade 103.80/16.794 .482 105.33/20.008 .487 2 nd Grade 106.00 .718 116.00 .898 *.05 level of significance 1 Most frequent activity choice = blocks, LEGOs or other building toys

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141 Table 4 8 Free Play Activity Choice and Problem Behaviors of Four and Five Year Olds Free Play Activity Choice By Five year olds with DD ( n = 45 ) Five year olds w/o disabilities ( n = 27 ) Four year olds with DD ( n = 51 ) Four year olds w/o disabilities ( n = 25 ) M/SD p M/SD p M/SD p M/SD p Externalizing Problems Preschool 98.00/ 11.888 .055 98.00/ 11.888 .055 88.50/ 9.710 .018* 92.67/ 11.504 .746 Internalizing Problems Preschool 103.50/ 12.012 .098 103.50/ 12.012 .098 91.00/ 10.583 .008* 94.67/ 12.503 .179 Externalizing Problems Kindergarten 96.00/ 15.043 .192 96.00/ 15.043 .192 ------------Internalizling Problems Kindergarten 91.25/ 11.449 .141 91.25/ 11.449 .141 ------------Problem Behavior 1 st Grade 108.71/ 14.092 .537 108.71/ 14.092 .537 105.29/ 11.280 .300 87.50/ 3.536 .146 1 st Grade 130.00 .832 130.00 .832 ---.472 85.00 ---1 st Grade 104.63/ 19.116 .534 104.63/ 19.116 .534 102.86/ 15.159 .790 91.50/ 9.192 .318 1 st Grade 106.00 .697 106.00 .697 ---.866 91.00 ---*.05 level of significance

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142 Table 4 9 Free Play Activity Choice and Temperament Children w ith Developmental Delay and Children w ithout Disabilities Free Play Activity Choice By % of Total Children With Developmental Delay ( n = 96) Without Disabilities ( n = 52) F p F p Quiet & passive 8.8 .572 .567 .459 .504 Jumpy & easily startled 20.9 .602 .551 .678 .516 Pays attention/stays focused 26.4 .632 .535 .945 .401 Likes to do things on his/her own 46.6 1.685 .194 1.470 .247 Very active & restless 31.0 .4 16 .662 1.078 .354 Tries to finish things 18.9 2.260 .113 1.696 .202 Gets easily involved 1 55.4 3.610 .033* 1.321 .283 Distracted by sights/sounds 23.0 2.058 .136 2.128 .138 Has difficulty with change 29.0 2.616 081 .302 .742 Often anxious/depressed 2.0 1.636 .203 .084 .774 *.05 level of significance 1 Most frequent activity choice = blocks, LEGOs or other building toys

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143 Table 4 1 0 Free Play Activity Choice and Temperament Children w ith Problem Behaviors ( M > 115.00) and w ithout Problem Behaviors ( M < 85.00) Free Play Activity Choice By DD & Problem Behavior ( n = 33) N/A & Problem Behavior ( n = 9) DD & w/o Problem Behavior ( n = 33) N/A & w/o Problem Behavior ( n = 2 6) F p F p F p F p Quiet & passive .991 .393 ------.044 .957 1.399 .25 4 Jumpy & easily startled 1.258 .311 ------. 219 .805 1.943 .182 Pays attention/stays focused .387 .685 ------.152 .860 .852 .446 Likes to do things on his/her own 1 .063 .939 ------4.192 .026* 2.665 .102 Very active & restless .096 .909 ------2.731 .082 1.100 .358 Tries to finish things .380 .690 ------2.285 .120 1.167 .338 Gets easily involved .364 .701 ------2.516 .099 .142 .711 Distracted by sights/sounds 1.214 .323 ------1.266 .298 1.232 .320 Has difficulty with change 1 3.730 .047* ------1.138 .335 .172 .844 Often anxious/depressed .423 .662 ------3.260 .081 .428 .522 .05 level of significance N/A = without disabilities 1 Most frequent activity choice = blocks, LEGOs or other building toys

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144 Table 4 1 1 Free Play Activity Choice and Academic Competence of Children w ith Developmental Delay/Without Disabilities o r With Problem Behaviors/Without Problem Behaviors Most Frequent Activity Choice By With Developmental Delay 1 ( n = 96) Without Disabilities 1 ( n = 52) With Problem Behaviors 1 ( n = 42) Without Pr oblem Behaviors 1 ( n = 59) Four Year Olds 1 ( n = 76 ) Five Year Olds 1 ( n = 72 ) F p F p F p F p F p F p PPVT Preschool 1.952 .044* .45 0 .912 .759 .673 .808 .648 1.546 .167 1.036 .435 PPVT Kindergarten .521 .890 2.842 .038* .6 41 .741 .847 .611 .247 .98 8 753 .670 PPVT 1 st Grade .546 .883 .865 .587 .367 .935 .885 .570 1.181 .344 .694 .736 Letter Word ID Preschool .860 .604 2.065 .080 1.709 .178 1.439 .192 2.026 .062 1.476 180 Le tter Word ID Kindergarten 903 .551 1.385 .279 4.611 .013* .677 .769 1.348 .253 1.476 .194 Letter Word ID 1 st Grade .781 .676 1.160 .379 1. 387 307 .839 .612 1 .413 .222 1.016 .452 A pplied Problems Preschool 1.121 .365 .530 .860 1.498 .242 1.393 .213 2.055 .059 .385 .954 Applied Problems Kindergarten .748 .707 227 .992 1.033 .485 .682 .766 1.438 .214 .431 .921 Applied Problems 1 st Grade 1.579 .127 .606 .800 1.852 .173 1.267 .283 4.622 001* .853 .591 Quantitative Concepts Kindergarten 1.278 .263 1.250 .333 1.496 .278 .956 .512 1.349 .252 1.476 .191 Quantitative Concepts 1 st Grade .969 .495 .305 .975 11.445 .286 .482 .911 1.365 .243 .398 .948 1 Most frequent activity choice = blocks, LEGOs or other building toys .05 level of siqnificance

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145 Table 4 12. Free Play Activity Choice and Academic Competence of Children w ith Developmental Delay/Without Disabilities Most Frequent Activity Choice By F our Year Olds Five Year Olds W ith Developmental Delay 1 ( n = 51 ) Without Disabilities 2 ( n = 2 5 ) With Developmental 1 Delay ( n = 45 ) Without Disabilities 1 ( n = 2 7 ) F p F p F p F p PPVT Preschool 1.956 .092 .690 .681 1.467 .230 .260 .959 PPVT Kind ergarten .326 .947 28.535 .034* .881 .540 1.552 .275 PPVT 1st Grade 1.558 .195 .465 .802 .819 .606 .786 .612 Letter Word ID Prescho ol .636 .755 3.030 196 1.457 .230 1.639 209 Letter Word ID Kindergarten .940 .504 6.755 .135 1.670 .180 .9 85 .496 Letter Word ID 1 st Grade 1.166 .362 8.487 .109 1.229 .335 1.504 .255 Applied Problems Preschool 1.643 .159 1.580 .380 1 67 .995 .699 673 Applied Problems Kindergarten .996 .466 .871 .622 .297 .957 156 .989 Applied Problems 1 st Grade 4.480 .002* 1.046 .564 .896 .547 209 .977 Quantitative Concepts Kindergarten 1.613 .178 .246 .923 .829 .589 1.165 .394 Quantitative Concepts 1 st Grade 1.635 .172 203 .946 .569 .806 .422 .870 1 Most frequent activity choice = blocks, LEGOs or other building toys 2 Most frequent activity choice = alphabet and language materials .05 level of siqnificance

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146 Table 4 1 3 Free Play Activity Choice and Academic Competence of Children w ith Developmental Delay/Without Disabilities and With/Without Problem Behaviors Most Frequent Activity Choice By With Developmental Delay Without Disabilities With Problem Behaviors 1 ( n = 32 ) Without Problem Behaviors 2 ( n = 32 ) With Problem Behaviors ( n = 9 ) Without Problem Behaviors 3 ( n = 26 ) F p F p F p F p PPVT Preschool 5.199 .103 .858 .568 ------.617 .732 PPVT Kindergarten 2.638 .227 1.044 .443 ------3.530 .049 PPVT 1st Grade 1.549 .381 .678 .705 ------1.416 .298 Letter Word ID Preschool .359 .851 .878 .554 ------1.601 .241 Letter Word ID Kindergarten .826 .604 .941 .510 ------.807 .605 Letter Word ID 1 st Grade .502 .766 1.078 .423 ------.823 .590 Applied Problems Preschool .227 .928 .775 .630 ------.384 .892 Applied Problems Kindergarten .513 .760 .586 .776 ------.297 .938 Applied Problems 1 st Grade 5.512 .095 1.442 .249 ------.150 .990 Quantitative Concepts Kindergarten .718 .653 .958 .498 ------1.760 .211 Quantitative Concepts 1 st Grade .933 .560 .459 .868 ------.243 .963 1 Most frequent activity choice = 1, 2, and 4 2 Most frequent activity choice = blocks, LEGOs or other building toys 3 Most frequent activity choice = alphabet and language materials .05 level of siqnificance

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147 Table 4 14. Free Play Activity Choice and Academic Competence of Children W ith /Without Problem Behaviors Most Frequent Activity Choice By F our Year Olds Five Year Olds With Problem Behaviors ( n = 10 ) Without Problem Behaviors 1 ( n = 24 ) With Problem Behaviors 1 ( n = 21 ) Without Problem Behaviors 1 ( n = 30 ) F p F p F p F p PPVT Preschool ------.574 .609 .930 .537 .818 .60 9 PPVT Kindergarten ------.763 157 .556 .733 1.857 .157 PPVT 1st Grade ------.671 .284 .268 .933 1.369 .284 Letter Word ID Preschool ------.6 67 .2 99 1.860 .216 1.334 .299 Letter Word ID Kindergarten ------.455 940 5.088 .036* .347 .940 Letter Word ID 1 st Grade ------.560 653 .847 .578 .761 .653 Applied Problems Preschool ------.5 75 .6 06 1.133 .437 .822 .60 6 Applied Problems Kindergarten ------.446 .922 1.065 .483 .387 .922 Applied Problems 1 st Grade ------.544 699 .815 .595 .701 .699 Quantitative Concepts Kindergarten ------.665 .349 1.723 .284 1.234 .349 Quantitative Concepts 1 st Grade ------.259 .999 .366 .877 .120 .999 1 Most frequent activity choice = blocks, LEGOs or other building toys .05 level of siqnificance

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148 Figure 4 1. Most Frequent Activity Choice By All Children in the Current Study Figure 4 2. Most Frequent Activity Choice of Children With Developmental Delay

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149 Fig ure 4 3. Most Frequent of Activity Choice of Children Without Disabilities

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150 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION This study addressed the importance of play within the larger context of early identification and intervention for young children in order to facilitate academic and social competence The purpose of the chapter is to discuss the findings that impact academic and social competence of preschool children with and without developmental delay. Limitations of the study will be discussed as well as implications for practice, policy and future research. The Value of Play Play constitutes way of learning and working (Yawkey, Dank, & Glosenger, 1986). Children begin to create and think divergently when encouraged to solve problems that arise in play (Yawkey, Dank, & Glosenger, 1986). Observing children during play yields valuable information regarding their cognitive and communication development. For example, cognitive skills associated with problem solving, mastery motivation, attention, cla ssification, and sequencing often are observed during play (Linder, 1993). Children with developmenta l delay and without disabilities need a variety of preferred play activities available in the classroom. Younger children prefer LEGOs or other building toys, vehicles and work machines (e.g cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders) a playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food dress up, costumes, puppets, theatre props and arts and crafts projects and materials clay or Play Doh while older children prefer LEGOs or other building toys, arts and crafts projects and materials clay or Pla y Doh sand and water play, and alphabet and language materials

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151 Free Play Activity Choice Differences by age. s for the most frequen t free play activity choice do not differ by age cohort (i.e., ages 4 and 5) The most frequent free play activity choice for both four year old and five year old children are blocks, LEGOs or other building toys. However, c s for the second and third most frequen t free play activity choice do differ by age cohort. The second and third most frequent free play activity choice s for five year old children are arts and craf ts projects and materials, sand and water play, and alphabet and language materials. The second and third most frequent free pl ay activity choices of four year old children are vehicles and work machines (e.g cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders) a playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food and arts and crafts projects and materials. Differences by g ender Results of thi s st udy suggest four year old girls generally prefer dramatic play activities (i.e. playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, and plastic food, dress up, costumes, puppets, theatre props) as their first and second most frequent activity choice. Four year old boys and fi ve year old bo ys generally prefer constructive play activities (i.e. blocks, LEGOs other building toys ) as their first most frequent activity Both four year old girls and four year old boys generally prefer arts and crafts projects and materials clay or Play Doh for their third most frequent activity choice Developmental Delay The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 17% of children in the United States have some form of a developmental disability. Developmental disabilities range from m ild developmental delays and disorders to more serious developmental

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152 disorders, such as mental retardation/intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism spectrum disorders. The identification of children with less obvious delays and disabilities ca n be challenging for pediatric specialists and families, in part, because their nature, presence, and severity become obvious only gradually over time. Developmental or behavioral screen ing tests can help pediatric specialists identify developmental disabilities between the ages of 0 and 3 and refer for special service s at an early age. Infants or toddlers who display disabilities in one or more of the following areas of development may qualify for early intervention: physical, cognitive, adaptive, communicative, or social and/or emotional development (Bailey, et al., 2004). Results of this study suggest that the most frequent activity choice during child directed free play in preschool may aid in the diagnosis and assessment o f developmental delay. Strong relationships were identified between free play activity choice in preschool (e.g. blocks, LEGOs or other building toys) and social competence (e.g. social cooperation skills, social interaction skills, social indepe ndence skills in preschool, social independence skills in kindergarten), problem behaviors (e.g. externalizing and internalizing problems in preschool, internalizing problems in kindergarten), temperament qualities (e.g. paying attention/staying focused, b eing quiet and passive) and academic competence (e.g. receptive vocabulary skills in preschool, applied problems skills in 1 st grade). Factors Influencing Academic Competence S ome children begin sch ool more prepared than others. Understanding the qualities explain why some high risk youth either catch up or fall further behind their more

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153 advantaged peers as they progress through school. Intervention efforts may need to target m or e than one r isk factor (Bronfenbrenner, 1994). and larger social and cultural context can have a decided impact on school readiness (NICHD ECCRN, 2005a). Family Income, Race and Gender An investigation of the influence of family income, race, and gender jointly with psychological qualities may add to our understanding of the interactive effects of SES effects or co occurs with the development of mental health intell igence, and ac hievement. SES affects parental attitudes and beliefs, family interactions and availability of institutions within the surrounding community (Sameroff, Seifer, & Zax, 1982). Becker & Luther (2002) ide ntified four critical factors for academic success: academic/school attachment, teacher support, peer values, and mental health. They suggest that minority students are at risk for each factor to a greater exten t than White students, and that school reform effort s aimed at reducing the achievement gap must address all four factors. They suggest adopting a cultural frame of reference to assessment, treatment and outcome measure and incorporat ing culturally appropriate mental health services within schools. R esults from this study did not vary by family income as 72.6% of families earned less than $30,000 and 19.3% earned between $30,000 and $40,000. Free play activity choice did differ by gender for the most frequent activity choice but did differ with the se cond and third most frequent activity choice. Observing free play behavior of preschool children is culturally relevant provided all children are provided the same opportunities (i.e. type of activities provided in the

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154 classroom). Caregivers and teachers c an ensure that children are given appropriate choices for free play and provide an environment where child selection of free play activity is welcomed and encouraged. Social and Academic Competence T social em otional development emotional and social skills are related to their early academic achievement (Raver, 2003; Wentzel & Asher, 1995). Children who are emotionally well adjusted have a greater chance of early school success. In contrast, children who ex perience serious emotional difficulty have a greater risk of early school difficulty (Raver, 2003). Children who display emotional/behavioral disorders frequently demonstrate deficits in academic performance, have lower graduation rates, and are less like ly to attend postsecondary institutions (Lane, Barton Arwood, & Wehby, 2008). Results from this study suggest that child directed free play activity choice in preschool is highly correlated with social cooperation skills, social interaction skills, and so cial independence skills in preschool, and social independence skills in kindergarten. That is, children with developmental delay who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys during child directed free play in preschool display average social cooperation skills, social interaction skills, and social independence skills in preschool, and average social independence skills in kindergarten. Problem Behaviors and Academic/Social Competence Problem behaviors of preschooler s are correlated with low m ath skills and Fisher, & Arnold 2006 ; Doctoroff, Greer, & Arnold, 2006). Behaviorally, c hildren who

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155 are well adjusted have a greater likelihood to display early academic success. The literature on the prevalence and stability of preschoolers displaying problem behaviors (e.g., inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity ) and early literacy skills suggests a number of links with later school achievement. This study examined preschool children with developmental delay with and without problem behaviors and children without disabilities with and without problem behaviors. Results from this study suggest that the most frequent free play activity choice in pre school of children with developmental delay and children with developmental delay and problem behavior is highly correlated with receptive vocabulary skills in preschool. That is, children with developmental delay and problem behaviors who choose blocks, L EGOs or other building toys have average receptive vocabulary skills in preschool. Free play activity choice in preschool of children without disabilities and without problem behaviors is highly correlated with receptive vocabulary skills in kind ergarten. Temperament and Ac ademic Competence Various personal qualities are considered to be protective factors of academic competence in children, including higher intelligence and acade mic engagement (Luthar, 2003), and f amily and social qualities Ho wever, some personal qualities (i.e. temperament) that interact with these protective factors may be an important consideration when forming intervention plans. Garmezy ( 1993) found three broad sets of variables that operate as protective factors in stress resistant children: 1) characteristics of the child such as temperament, cognitive skills, and positive

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156 responsiveness to others; 2) characteristics of families such as warmth, cohesion, and structure; and 3) the availability of external support systems. Attention and other self achievement (Duncan et al. 2007). Children who display difficulty paying attention, following directions, getting along with others, and controlling negative emotions of anger and distress do less well in school than children who do not display these qualities (Arnold et al., 1999; McClelland et al., 2000; Raver, 2003). This study identified the following personal qualities to be highly correlated with the most frequent free pl ay activity choice in preschool: paying attention/staying focused, being passive and quiet. Free P lay A ctivity C hoice and Academic Competence Glosenger, 1986). Children learn about balance as they explore and build with blocks. They begin to create and think divergently when encouraged to solve problems that arise in play (Ya wkey, Dank, & Glosenger, 1986). Observing children during pla y yields valuable information regardi ng cognitive and communication development. C ognitive skills associated with problem solv ing, motivation to master tasks, attention, classification, and sequencing often are displayed during play (Linder, 1993). Six language markers (first words, naming wo rds, vocabulary spurts, word chains, nonproductive two word utterances, and productive two word utterances) can be observed during play (Ogura, 1991). Results from this study suggest that the most frequent f ree play activity choice in preschool of childre n with developmental delay is highly correlated with receptive vocabulary skills in preschool and applied problem skills in 1 st grade. That is, children

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157 with developmental delay who choose blocks, LEGOs or other building toys more frequently duri ng free play in preschool display average receptive vocabulary skills in preschool and average applied problems skills in 1 st grade. Limitations T he use of a large scale da ta set has both benefits and limitations. Data are retrospective and organized or ca tegorized i n pre determined sets by the original researchers or owners of the data set. Variables are selected and defined by the original researchers as well as how the dat a are coded. The sampling design used in the original research may be biased. In t he PEELS study, a two stage sampling design was used in an attempt to obtain a nationally representative sample. Local education agenices (LEAs) were selected during the first stage and the sample of 3 to 5 year old participants was selected by the LEAs in the second stage. Among the 2,752 LEAs serving preschoolers with disabilities, 709 were selected based on geographic region, enrollment size, and district poverty level. A total of 245 LEAs agreed to participate (210 were needed in order to generate a suf ficient number of children) and 46 later dropped out of the study. The number of drop outs and/or the remaining 199 participating LEAs may have been the result of self selection. Site coordinators/district staff were required to recruit participating fami lies from lists of eligible children provided by the LEA The site coordinators/district staff may have been biased in their recruitment of participating families. Families received a monetary incentive for participating in the study so participation could have been influenced by the reward. Only s elected teachers completed a mail questionnaire, and only selected children participated in a direct assessment following parental consent.

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158 The accuracy of information obtained through teacher q uestionnaire s depen ds on their inte rpretation of the questions and strategy utilized when responding to multiple choice items Data are derived from observation and subjective opinion s of the personnel who completed the early childhood teacher questionnaire, kindergarten and early elementary questionnaire. The type of assessment selected, the method of assessing constructs (i.e. the Woodcock Johnson Third Edition Social Skills Rating System, Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales Second Edition lists of available activities), and/or the definition of cons tructs may be a limitation. Assessments of children who are less than 8 years old have lower reliability compared to those for older children due to their rapid development. Moreover, the ary from one setting to another. An assessment such as the Play Behavior Observation may have yielded higher validity play activity. Providing only a list of activities requ ires the respondent to define the activity and could bias the responses. Thus, the responders may have guessed. The only instruction to assess free play activity was to provide the most frequent, second most frequent, and third most frequent activity that the child engages in most often. The availability of activities including placement of activities provided in the the and whether the activity i s child directed or teacher directed could also bias responses. The number of responses that indicate choices during free play activity was very small; thus the data may be unreliable. Data that assesses children over time (i.e. PEELS data) may be subject to time threats (Campbell &

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159 Stanley, 1963) Time threats are another limitation as change in the outcome variable may be due to qualities other than the independent variable. A .05 level of significance was assumed throughout the course of this study. Adju sting confidence intervals to account for smaller sample sizes and less reliable data may have resulted in fewer significant findings. While this study is longitudinal and includes various regions and types of preschools acr oss the country, this study inc ludes only children identified with a developmental delay or those receiving services for a developmental delay and those children identified with no disabilities. Thus, results from this study can be generalized only to those children who are 4 and 5 year s old with developmental delay and those children 4 and 5 years old without disabilities. Results cannot be generalized to children with other disabilities such as autism, mental retardation, or Down Syndrome. Implications for Practice Sameroff and Emde ( 1989) found individual qualities (e.g. income level, family examined within a broader ecological framework (e.g. high risk environment). Garmezy (1993) suggests that children who are stress resistant have personal attributes families and an external support system that mediate the effects of stress Rutter (1979) suggests that social competence requires the combination of risk and protective factors T he interaction of risk and protective factors over time rather than the intensity of one or multip le factors at any one time determines social competence Multiple environments and multiple systems (peer, family, school) must be considered when examining factors because more than one risk factor may be t argeted for intervention (Bronfenbrenner, 1994).

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160 Results from this study suggest the need to assess both risk s and protective factor s when conducting evaluations of children for possible disabilities in addition to caregiver interviews, child interviews and observations. A n assessment of risk s and protective factor s may also aid in more specific identification and development of more targeted interventions (e.g. specific factor or factors in within a system or sy stems ) I n general a cultural frame of reference (e.g. race, gender, disability, family income, personal qualities, mental health, school attachment, family characteristics, external support system) is recommended for adoption into all assessments, treatm ents, and outcome measures. Effective play based interventions that are based on play strands and are developmentally appropriate (i.e. PCIT, play therapy, modeling play skills, scaffolding conceptua l decisions and problem solving, and providing open ende d materials ) offered i n preschool settings can support cognitive and/or socioemotional skills in 3 5 year olds. Social skills and/or problem behaviors may be readily observable in both home and play settings. Observers can compare how children interact wit h parents, siblings, teachers, strangers, a nd peers. These observations may yield important information co ncerning a for intervention in order to promote social interaction skills and/or reduce problem behaviors For example, o bservations of peer play may enable teachers and other professionals to differentiate specific skills needed to increase peer interaction, observations of inner conflicts, and observation of careg iver/child interaction can provide information pertaining to adult child relationships.

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161 Oppenheim (1984) recommends basic toys and materials that should be provided both in the home and preschool classrooms (Table 5 1). Results from this study support thos e of Oppenheim (1984) and suggest the most frequent free play activities for four and five year olds with and without developmental delay that are highly correlated with social and academic competence (Table 5 2). Children without disabilities have more ac tivities available in the classroom for child directed free play than same age children with developmental delay. Alphabet and language materials are provided more frequently during free play in classrooms of children without disabilities than classrooms o f children with developmental delay. Boys without disabilities who choose alphabet and language materials more frequently during child directed free play in preschool display high average social skills in 1 st grade. Children without disabilities who choose alphabet and language materials more frequently during free play in preschool display average receptive vocabulary skills in kindergarten. Teachers and caregivers of children with developmental delay may consider providing alphabet and language materials more often during free play in order to enhance development of social skills and receptive vocabulary skills. Play Behavior Assessment their play. Frede and Jacobs (2009) propose a screening assessment tool that is play based, development ally appropriate, and based on early learning g uidelines. Their assessment is based on play strands (e.g. attributes of constructive play, cooperative play and sociodramatic play. They suggest th at the data be measurable, developed along a continuum, and inform present and future instruction and learning. In addition to a systematic observation, a standardized play history (e.g. The Play History Interview by

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162 Takata, 1969, Rogers & Takata, 1975; Th e Revised Play History by Behnke & Menarchek Fetkovich, 1982) teacher in order to understand patterns of play behavior over time and their impact on achievement skills, social skills, probl em behaviors and any developing p sychopathology. Because exploratory and representational competencies vary across developmental disabilities, observations of play impairment may be useful in differentiating diagnostic conditions play preferences and the effect of developmental delay (i.e. less symbolic play than children without disabilities) on those preferences will aid in diagnosis, and subsequent selection of activities and intervention. Teachers need direct, concise informati on on how to eachers also ne ed to become aware of the message (implicit as well as overt) they are giving chi ldren about their play choices. Results of this study support those by Gura lnick (2005) regarding the nonsocial play preferences of children with developmental delay being similar to that of children without disabilities or typically developing children. T eacher s of children with developmental delay and children without disabilit ies in the same classroom can create specific interventions or manipulate the environment (i.e. pre select the activities that are available in the classroom) in order to support children and chal lenge them in their development, play, and learning (Bjorch Akesson & Granlund, 2003; Guralnick, 2005). should be included in teacher directed activiti es. The role of the teacher during teacher directed play is to increase the developmental level of

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163 play by making play more sophisticate d and encouraging children to problem solv e Sometimes sophisticated play routines need to be modeled; conceptual decisions and problem solving need to be scaffolded; and open ended materials and life material need to be provided to children. Teachers ca n consult of the Principles for Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs (NAEYC, 2009) Principle 10 for specific instruction on developing self regulation, promoting language, cognition, and social competence through play Each pri nciple is based on extensive research, and provides a solid base for decision making on how best to meet the educational needs of young children. In addition, the skills taught in the child directed interaction stage of Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PC IT) can be modified for the classroom. These skill enhancement provide opportunities for the child to explore and master the environment, provide child directed play o pportunities without being intrusive and reward C linicians should consider the concept of pathological play in order to better understand and manage the care of children who display more challenging behaviors and diagnoses Jureidini (2 000). Clinicians working with children or families should be play involves the child doing things normally forbidden or pretending that something has happen ed that has not really occurred) and children stop their play because of discomfort with the feelings associated with events they have experienced in their lives. As such, p lay disruption can become a diagnostic

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164 s emotional needs and level of functioning (Gitlin Weiner, et al., 2000). Preschool Special Education Play based interventions selected for implementation should be developed through a process that uses student performance data along with other informati on to identify and analyze the area of concern, select and implement interventions, and monitor the effectiveness of the interventions. Interventions shall be implemented as designed for a reasonable period of time and with a level of intensity that matche s the These services are offered through education agencies similar to special education programs for school aged children. School systems provide evaluations through Child Find as well as case management and services for children found el igible. Preschool children eligible for special education se rvices are entitled to receive such services along a continuum, from most to least restrictive as follows: if needed by an itinerant teacher or specialist familiar with the needs of individual chi ldren coming to settings as a play group, home or child care program; a classroom in a special preschool program exclusively for children with disabilities; or a classroom in an integrated preschool with non disabled peers with an interventionist attuned to the s play themes, build ing on them, and introducing new content and play materials to help children overcome their barriers to learning Implications for Future Research This study attempted to include varia bles identified in research as predictors of academic and social competenc e. Other variables that have not been studied include

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165 social culture (e.g. peer influence ), elementary school philosophy/e ffecti veness parental discipline methods cultural practices, and the impact of trauma These should be considered in future research in order to examine how results differ across other disabilities, such as autism, mental retardation, serious emotional disturb ance, and receptive and expressive language disorders. Jureidini (2000) suggests that some studies provide preliminary evidence for a direct pathogenic effect of disruption of the play environment. Further exploration of the relationships between such dis ruption and longer term outcomes would be an important direction for play research.

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166 Table 5 1 Basic Toys (Oppenheim, 1984) Toys and materials that should be available in both home and school: Blocks Balls Books Dolls Dress up CDs Miniature cars, trucks Trikes Simple puzzles Crayons Paints Paper/pencils

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167 Table 5 2. Toys and materials that should be available for 4 5 year old free play in home and childcare settings Free Play Activity Choice Gender Children with D evelopmental D elay Children W ithout D isabilities Girls Boys Age 4 Age 5 Age 4 Age 5 Most Frequent* p layhouse t oy kitchen d ishes p lastic f ood b locks LEGOs builiding t oys 1 b locks LEGOs b uiliding t oys 1 b locks LEGOs b uiliding t oys 1 a lphabet and l anguage materials 2 b locks LEGOs b uilding t oys 1 Second Most Frequent** c ostumes p uppets t heatre props t oy vehicles w ork machines (e.g. cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders) toy vehicles w ork machines (e.g. cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders) a rts & crafts projects and materials c lay or Play Doh p layhouse t oy kitchen d ishes p lastic food a lphabet and language materials 2 Third Most Frequent a rts & crafts projects and materials c lay or Play Doh a rts & crafts projects and materials c lay or Play Doh a rts & crafts projects and materials c lay or Play Doh t oy vehicles w ork machines (e.g. cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders) books and magazines Children without disabilities differ by age in preference of their most frequent activity choice and their second most frequent activity choice. ** Free play activity choice differs by age cohort of children with developmental delay for the second most frequent activity choice: four year olds prefer vehicles and work machines (e.g. cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders) and five year olds prefer arts and crafts projects and materials, clay or Play Doh 1 Related to social cooperation skills in preschool, social interaction skills in preschool, social i ndependence skills in preschool social independence skills in kindergarten, receptive vocabulary ski lls in preschool, and applied problems skills in 1 st grade 2 st grade, receptive vocabulary skills in kindergarten

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168 APPENDIX A DEFINITION OF TERMS Activity(ies ). Defined as interests and materials that are routinely ava ilable to the child in the classroom or program. Activities are derived from items A8.(a) through (cc) on the Early Childhood Teacher Questionnaire: a) arts and crafts projects and materials, clay, or Play Doh ; b) blocks, LEGOs other building toys; c) sand and water play; d) playhouse, toy kitchen, dishes, plastic food; e) dress up, costumes, puppets, beans, and other tactile materials); h) paper, coloring books, crayons, pencils, pens; i) playground equipment (e.g. climbing structure, swings, trikes or bikes, digging tools); j) balls (of various sizes), Nerf style toys, sports equipment; k) computer and software; l) video games; m) board games; n) toys: vehicles and work machines (e.g. cars, trains, trucks, backhoe loaders); o) toy: tools ( e.g. hammer, stethoscope, cash register, cell phone); p) dolls and stuffed animals; q) commercial toys (e.g. action figures, Barbie ); r) commercial edu cational toys (e.g. Lit e Brite puzzles, sorting cups, bead stringing); s) musical instruments; t) tapes or CD player with tapes and CDs; items (u) through (x) deleted; y) commercial television/videotapes; z) educational television/videotapes; aa) flashcards; bb) counting and n umber materials; cc) alphabet and language materials. Adaptive Behavior Functional (Pre) Academics Scale scores, Self Care Scale scores, Self Direction Scale scores from the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System, Second Edition (ABAS II). Age Cohort Ther e are three age cohorts in PEELS: Cohort A consists of 3 year olds (DOB 3/1/00 through 2/28/01); Cohort B consists of 4 year olds (DOB 3/1/99 through 2/29/00); Cohort C consists of 5 year olds (DOB 3/1/98 through 2/28/99).

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169 Children in Cohort A were newly e nrolled in a special education program during the recruitment period. Children in Cohorts B and C were either enrolled before the recruitment period (historical) or newly enrolled (ongoing). Disability ial education services are needed. Disability type is derived from Item B5. on the Computer Assisted Telephone Inter view (CATI) Parent Questionnaire : 2) developmental disability or delay Ethnicity. Hispanic, Latino, or other Spanish origin 1 Gender Defined as either male 1 or female 2. Literacy Defined as standard scores from the Woodcock Johnson III: Letter Word Identification subtest (Woodcock, McGrew, and Mather, 2001). Math Defined as standard scores from the Woodcock Johnson III: Applied Pro blems subtest and Quantitative Concepts subtest (Woodcock, McGrew, and Mather, 2001). Problem Behavior Early childhood teacher ratings and kindergarten teacher ratings on the Externalizing Problems Behavior Scale, the Internalizing Problems Behavior Scale, and the Problem Behavior Composite Scale of the Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales (PKBS). Kindergarten teacher and elementary teacher ratings on the Problem Behavior Scale Boys and the Problem Behavior Scale Girls of the Social Skills Rati ng System (SSRS). Teacher ratings are based on observations of 1=Rarely; 2= Sometimes; 3=Often). Race White 1, African American or Black 2, American Indian or Alaska Nativ e 3, Asian 4, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 5.

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170 Receptive Language Refers to the scores provided by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test standard scores (Dunn and Dunn, 1997). Social Skills Early childhood teacher and kindergarten teacher ratings on the Social Cooperation Scale, Social Independence Scale, Social Interaction Scale, and the Social Composite Scale of the Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales (PKBS). Kindergarten teacher and elementary teacher ratings on the Social Skills Scale Boys and the Social Skills Scale Girls of the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS). Teacher Ratings range from 0 to 3 (e.g. 0=Never; 1=Rarely; 2= Sometimes; 3=Often). Socioeconomic status (SES) Defined as household in the past year (i.e. salaries or other earnings, money from public assistance, child support, retirement) for all household members. SES is derived f rom Items H32a. through H32c on the CATI Parent Questionnaire : $25, 000 (e.g. $5,000 or less 1; $5,001 to $10,000 2; $10,001 to $15,000 3; $15,001 to $20,000 4; $20,001 to $25,000 5) or less or more than $25,000 (e.g. $25,001 to $30,000 1; $30,001 to $35,0 00 2; $35,001 to $40,000 3; $40,001 to $45,000 4; 45,001 to $50,000 5; more than $50,000 6. Temperament Defined by the PEELS Computer Assisted Telephone Inter view (CATI) Parent Questinnaire as being fairly quiet and passive, jumpy and easily startled, p aying attention/staying focused, enjoying to do things on his/her own, being restless, fidgeting, and having difficulty sitting still, trying to finish things, getting easily involved, being distracted by sights/sounds, having difficulty adapting to change and being anxious/depressed often.

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171 APPENDIX B PRINCIPLES FOR DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE PRACTICE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS (NAEYC, 2009) 1. All the domains of development and learning physical, social and emotional, and cognitive learning in one domain influence and are influenced by what takes place in other domains. 1. documented sequences, with later abilities, skills, and knowledge building on those already acquired. 2. Development and learning proceed at varying rates from child to child, as well as at 3. Deve lopment and learning result from a dynamic and continuous interaction of biological maturation and experience. 4. development and learning; and optimal periods exist for certa in types of development and learning to occur. 5. Development proceeds toward greater complexity, self regulation, and symbolic or representational capacities. 6. Children develop best when they have secure, consistent relationships with responsive adults and opportunities for positive relationships with peers. 7. Development and learning occur in and are influenced by multiple social and cultural contexts. 8. Always mentally active in seeking to understand the world around them, children learn in a variety of wa ys; a wide range of teaching strategies and interactions are effective in supporting all these kinds of learning. 9. Play is an important vehicle for developing self regulation as well as for promoting language, cognition, and social competence. 10. Developing and learning advance when children are challenged to achieve at a level just beyond their current mastery, and also when they have many opportunities to practice newly acquired skills. 11. es to learning, such as persistence, initiative, and flexibility; in turn, these dispositions and behaviors affect their learning and development.

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172 APPENDIX C UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA INTERNAL REVIEW BO ARD PERMISSION TO CONDUCT RESEARCH

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173 APPENDIX D NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATIONAL STATISTICS RESEARCH DATA USE

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189 APPENDIX E PEELS EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRE

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216 APPENDIX F PEELS KINDERGARTEN TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRE

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247 APPENDIX G PEELS ELEMENTARY TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRE

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275 APPENDIX H PEELS COMPUTER ASSISTED TELEPHONE INTERVIEW PARENT QUESTIONNAIRE (SECTIONS RELEVANT TO THE CURRENT STUDY)

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366 APPENDIX I DESCRIPTIONS OF ASSESSMENTS USED IN THE PEELS STUDY AND CURRENT STUDY Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition. The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition (PPVT III) is a widely used measure of receptive language. Examiners show children a page with four pictures and ask them to point to the picture of the item named by the examiner. Although the PEELS study uti lized an adapted version of the PPVT (adapted based on item response theory resulting in all children responding to a core set of items), the standard version of the PPVT III had high alternate form reliability for the standardized scores (.88 to .96). Spl it half reliability coefficients were also high (.86 to .97). Test retest reliability coefficients were in the .90s (Dunn & Dunn, 1997). PPVT III scores are significantly correlated with age with the steepest part of the growth curve occurring from 2 yea rs to 12 years. Woodcock Johnson III: Letter Word Identification Subtest. The Woodcock Johnson III: Letter Word Identification Subtest requires the examinee to identify letters r items require examinees to read words aloud. McGrew ad Woodcock (2001) reported a .92 one year test retest correlation for children ages 4 to 7. Woodcock Johnson III: Applied Problems Subtest. The Woodcock Johnson III: Applied Problems Subtest requires the examinee to analyze and solve math problems. To solve the problems, the examinee listens to the problem, recognizes the procedure to be followed, and then performs relatively simple calculations. Test developers report a one year test retest correlatio n of .92 for children ages 4 to 7. Woodcock Johnson III: Quantitative Concepts Subtest. The Woodcock Johnson III: Quantitative Concepts Subtest measures knowledge of mathematical concepts,

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367 symbols, and vocabulary. The subtest is divided into two parts. Par t A, Concepts requires the examinee to count and identify numbers, shapes, and sequences. Part B, Number Series, requires the child to look at a series of numbers, figure out the pattern, and then provide the missing number in the series (McGrew & Woodcock 2001). This subtest was only administered to children ages 5 and older. Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales, Second Edition The Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales, Second Edition ( The PKBS 2 Merrell, 2002) is a 76 item rating scale designed to measure both problem behaviors and social skills of children ages 3 6. The PKBS 2 contains two major scales: social skills and social behavior. The social skills scale measures positiv e social skill characteristics of well adjusted children and includes 34 items on 3 subscales: Social Cooperation, Social Inter action, and Social Independence The problem behavior scale measures problem behaviors of young children who a r e experiencing adjustment problems and includes 42 items on 2 subscales: Exter nalizing Probl ems and Internalizing Problems Reliability studies indicate the PKBS has adequate to strong stability (i.e. t est rest reliability range is 0.62 0.87 ; inter rater reliability is 0.36 0.63 ) Internal consistency reliability ranges from .9 6 to .97 for the two scale totals and from .81 to .95 for the subscales. Social Skills Rating System. The Social Skills Rating System consists of two rating scales to assess social skills and the presence of competing problem behaviors Items on each scal e are rated according to frequency and importance ; however, only the frequency rating was included in the PEELS study). The Social Skills Scale assesses positive social behaviors such as cooperation, empathy, assertion, self control, and responsibility. T he Problem Behaviors Scale assesses behaviors that can

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368 interfere with the development of positive social skills (externalizing problems such as aggressive acts, poor temper control), internalizing problems (i.e. sadness, anxiety), and hyperactivity (i.e. f idgeting, impulsive acts).

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369 A PPENDIX J PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN BEHAVIOR SCALES, SECOND EDITION SUMMARY/RESPONSE FORM

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389 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lee Ann Lehman (A.K.A. Lee Ann Brady) was born in Louisville, Kentucky and attended public ki ndergarten and 1 st grade. She did not attend preschool or daycare. For grades 2 8, she attended parochial schools and for grades 9 12, she attended private school. Lee Ann obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in p sychology from The Ohio State University and was elected t o the Psi Chi H onor S ociety. While pursuing her b achelor d egree, Lee Ann worked part time as a library assistant and as a research assistant for a social psychologist and industrial/organizational psychologist. Following her b d egree, Lee Ann p ursu ed graduate work in i ndustrial/ organizational p sychology and was accepted into the doctoral program at The Ohio State University She obtained a position as a human resources g eneralist at a larg e national bank and later as a human resources m anager at a national insurance company. She met her husband of nine years and together they had one son, Nicholas. Lee Ann obtained he r Master of Science degrees in school psychology, community mental health, and K 8 t eaching from the University of Dayton. She was awarded a She met her second husband and together they had one daughter, Michaela. Lee Ann completed her master s level school psyc hology internship with Columbus Public Schools in Columbus, Ohio and obtained a position with South Western City Schools in Grove City, Ohio as a school psychologist where she remained for five years. During her tenure with South Western City Schools, Lee Ann developed her expertise in i ntervention a ssistance t eams, children with s erious e motional d isturbance and children whose first language was not English. Lee Ann was accepted

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390 in to the graduate program in school psychology at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida in 2006. She worked as teaching assistant for seven consecutive semesters teaching two undergraduate courses and as a research assistant for two years on three different research projects. Lee Ann completed her doctoral level interns Angeles, California and Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Florida, and expects to complete her Do ctor of Philosophy degree in December 2012. Lee Ann hopes to obtain a position in a public health agency, public school system incorporating men tal health, or university as a psychologist working with children, adolescents, and family systems specializing in attachment disorders and treatment, resiliency, and risk and protective factors.