The effectiveness of therapeutic self-directive play in self-concept of educationally handicapped children in Saratoga, California elementary schools Public Deposited

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  • The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of therapeutic self-directive play as a means of developing positive self-concepts and motivation of educationally handicapped children. Further consideration was also given to behavioral changes as viewed by the classroom teacher and aide. The population of the study consisted of 47 educationally handicapped children ranging in age from 6-0 through 13-1. The SCAMIN (Self-Concept Motivational Inventory) was administered to the entire population. The teacher and aide of each of the self-contained classes rated each child on the Burks' Behavior Rating Scales. Each of the four educationally handicapped classes participating in this study had an experimental group and a control group. The control group consisted of 23 subjects, representing a developmental first, an educationally handicapped primary class and two intermediate educationally handicapped classes. The experimental (treatment) group consisted of 24 subjects, a developmental first, an educationally handicapped primary and two intermediate educationally handicapped classes. All experimental groups received therapeutic self-directed play. The control groups received no treatment. The subjects were assigned at random to a treatment (experimental) or to a non-treatment (control) group. The members of the experimental group received 24 therapeutic self-directive play sessions, meeting twice weekly for 30 minutes over a 12 week period. The group was facilitated by this investigator. Differences among pre-test and post-test, experimental group and control group, teacher evaluations and aide evaluations were all done by appropriate groping of the raw data and the use of the t test. Two general assumptions were formulated and tested using the null hypothesis approach: (1) The use of therapeutic, self-directive play in an educational setting would produce no statistically significant difference (t test M₁ - M₂ at the 10% level of confidence) in mean experimental and control group self-concept and motivation scores on the SCAMIN; (2) The use of therapeutic, self-directive play in an educational setting would produce no statistically significant differences (t test M₁ M₂ at the 10% level of confidence) in mean experimental and control group behaviors as measured by Burks' Behavior Rating Scales applied by teachers and aides. Significant positive changes in self-concept and motivational attributes, as measured by the mean of the group, were found among the experimental groups in some of the self-contained classes. Motivation was significantly higher at the . 10 level for those students in the experimental group than for those in the control group. No significant positive change was found for any control group. Assumption one was accepted, as significant statistical evidence was presented to indicate that educationally handicapped children receiving therapeutic self-directive play demonstrated a change in self-concept and motivation which was different from those educationally handicapped children receiving no treatment, Significant positive behavioral changes were found to be predominant in the experimental groups of most classes as viewed by both teachers and aides. When the entire group was considered, significant positive behavioral change was found in coordination and less resistance at the , 05 level and academics at the . 01 level as viewed by the teacher. Teachers saw no significant positive changes within the entire control group. Although trends were noted, in the consideration of the entire experimental group versus the entire control group, no significant changes were noted for either group as viewed by the aides. Inspection of the raw data also suggests confirmation of assumption two, educationally handicapped children receiving therapeutic self-directive play demonstrated changes in behavior which were different from those of educationally handicapped children receiving no treatment. Both practical experience and theoretical knowledge suggest that changes such as those here reported depend upon the individuals and the contexts in which they are involved. This study clearly supports the proposition that therapeutic, self-directed play is beneficial to children with learning disabilities.
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