Sarah E. Fabrizi, Max A. Ito, Kristin Winston; Effect of Occupational Therapy–Led Playgroups in Early Intervention on Child Playfulness and Caregiver Responsiveness: A Repeated-Measures Design. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(2):700220020. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.017012
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. This study's objective was to investigate the effects of a community playgroup on the playfulness of children with special needs ages 15 mo to 3 yr and the responsiveness of their caregivers.
METHOD. Using a pretest–posttest, repeated-measures design, we evaluated 8 child–caregiver dyads participating in an 8-wk occupational therapist–led community playgroup recruited from a purposive sample enrolled in early intervention. Video recordings from four time points over 4 mo were used to determine playfulness (Test of Playfulness) of the child and the responsiveness of the caregiver.
RESULTS. Blinded raters assessed playfulness and responsiveness outcomes. A repeated-measures analysis of variance demonstrated that participation in the playgroup significantly increased child playfulness (ηp2 = .89, p < .01). Analysis did not detect a change in caregiver responsiveness.
CONCLUSION. The results of this study have implications for the use of playgroups in comprehensive occupational therapy practice in early intervention.
Is an occupational therapist–led community playgroup effective in increasing the playfulness of children ages 15 mo to 3 yr enrolled in early intervention?
Is the occupational therapist–led community playgroup effective in modifying the sensitivity and responsiveness of caregivers?
Time 1 to Time 4 (overall changes from first to last meeting)
Time 1 to Time 2 (standard of care early intervention)
Time 2 to Time 3 (community playgroup intervention)
Time 3 to Time 4 (sustainability).
Children enrolled in early intervention can benefit from participation in a community playgroup.
Play, playfulness, and play participation are important outcomes to target when collaborating with families in early intervention.
Interventions that include play in a group setting in the community are effective in increasing outcomes such as the playfulness of the child and may help families transition from play at home to play in the community.
The playgroup is an occupational therapy intervention in which the practitioner can effectively implement strategies such as modeling playful behaviors, adapting the environment for developmental and social play, and coaching the caregiver.
The physical and social play environment can be used to support and encourage playful behaviors through use of high-quality, age-appropriate, and engaging play objects and can provide additional opportunities for children to engage with peers.
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