Teaching Play Skills Through the Use of Assistive Technology and Instructional Strategies: A National Survey

Susan S. Johnston, Ph.D.
Robyn M. Thompson, M.S.

University of Utah

Abstract

Play is often considered the main occupation of early childhood. Despite the importance of play, young children with disabilities may not achieve the same experiences as their typically developing counterparts.  Literature supports the use of specific instructional strategies to promote the acquisition of play skills.  In addition to utilizing specific instructional strategies to teach play skills, assistive technology (AT) can support positive outcomes. The authors conducted a survey study in order to advance our understanding of early childhood special education professionals’ knowledge and use of instructional strategies and AT to teach play skills to young children with disabilities. The participants’ reported knowledge and use of instructional strategies to teach play skills to young children with disabilities was high relative to their knowledge and use of AT. Furthermore, early childhood special education professionals reported that they did not vary their use of instructional strategies based on the AT tool. Implications of these finding for research and practice are discussed.

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