Toy preference and associated gross and fine motor movements of preschool orthopedically handicapped children were evaluated in a free-play situation. Fifteen children between 3 and 5 years of age and representing two separate classes served as subjects. The study was conducted for 7 weeks in the subjects’ classroom. Sessions were scheduled 2 times per week in each class, each lasting 1 hour. Twenty toys were evaluated using a modified version of the procedure developed by the University of Kansas’ Living Environments Group. Measurement of movement behavior associated with toy play involved application of a movement glossary developed by the experimenter. A Wilcoxon two-sample rank test revealed no significant differences for either gender, age, or ambulation (ambulatory versus nonambulatory) in relation to toy preference or nature of movement demonstrated. Analysis revealed that subjects spent considerable time using toys in a manner which did not correspond to their design. It was recommended that orthopedically handicapped children might benefit from learning how to play under the direction of a parent, teacher, or similar individual.
This research was supported by a grant from the College of Education.
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