Symbolic Play and Early Language Development in Normal and Mentally Retarded Children This study investigated the relationship of early language development and symbolic play behaviors in normal and mentally retarded children. Piaget' type IIA symbolic play, the ability to represent one object with another, was assessed by employing an object stimulus gradient. Forty children served as subjects: 20 normal and 20 trainable ... Research Article
Research Article  |   September 01, 1983
Symbolic Play and Early Language Development in Normal and Mentally Retarded Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Michael W. Casby
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
  • Kenneth F. Ruder
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   September 01, 1983
Symbolic Play and Early Language Development in Normal and Mentally Retarded Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1983, Vol. 26, 404-411. doi:10.1044/jshr.2603.404
History: Received February 3, 1982 , Accepted September 23, 1982
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1983, Vol. 26, 404-411. doi:10.1044/jshr.2603.404
History: Received February 3, 1982; Accepted September 23, 1982

This study investigated the relationship of early language development and symbolic play behaviors in normal and mentally retarded children. Piaget' type IIA symbolic play, the ability to represent one object with another, was assessed by employing an object stimulus gradient. Forty children served as subjects: 20 normal and 20 trainable mentally retarded youngsters, 10 each at MLU Stage Pre-I and MLU Stage I. The results of a three-way ANOVA revealed significant main effects of MLU Stage and object condition and a significant interaction of MLU by object condition. The MLU Stage Pre-I children demonstrated significantly more restricted symbolic play than did the MLU Stage I children regardless of developmental status. A Pearson product-moment correlation between MLU and mean symbolic play score showed a high positive correlation between the two variables. Symbolic play which involves the use of one object to represent another was found to be a strong correlate of early language development.

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