A Comparison of Isolate and Social Toys on Play Behaviors of Handicapped Preschoolers

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 University of New Orleans
  • 2 Jefferson Parish Schools Louisiana
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This study set out to determine toy preference and use of isolate versus social toys in specific play categories. The relationship of children’s gross motor abilities to their preference for gross motor toys and of fine motor abilities to preference for fine motor toys was also examined. Additionally, the study examined the level of social versus nonsocial play behavior according to the Parten Scale of Social Participation. Twenty-four handicapped preschool children in groups of four to six were involved in three 20-min free-play sessions. Spontaneous interactions with the toys as well as among children were videotaped. Results indicated that the children did prefer to play with social toys rather than isolate toys, but play was nonsocial rather than social and occurred during 83% of the free unstructured play intervals. The children did not demonstrate a distinct relationship between gross or fine motor ability and toy preference. However, environmental or ecological variables appeared to influence their social play behaviors.

Request reprints from Jo E. Cowden, Department of Human Performance and Health Promotion, University of New Orleans, Lakefront, New Orleans, LA 70148.

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