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Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2010 May;30(2):83-97. doi: 10.3109/01942630903543682.

Play and cognition among young children reared in an institution.

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Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Applied Human Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1573, USA.


The relationship between cognitive functioning and play behaviors of children residing in an orphanage was examined. Twenty-six young children (15 boys) between 10 and 38 months of age participated. More developmentally competent play behaviors were highly related to better performance on cognitive functioning as measured by the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (r = .78, p < or = .01). The participants' play behaviors were less competent compared to previous data for children of the same chronological age living at home on four out of five levels of symbolic play (p < or = .05). However, when compared to data for children living at home with similar cognitive development, the participants demonstrated no significant differences in symbolic play (p > or =.05). The findings suggest that the relationship between thinking and playing is robust, even in an institutional environment. Additionally, practitioners assessing children from institutions who cannot engage in standardized testing may consider observing play behaviors to make an initial estimate of developmental status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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