Date of Award

5-21-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Special Education

Department

Special Education and Habilitative Services

Major Professor

Flynn-Wilson, Linda

Second Advisor

Walker, Doug

Third Advisor

Schepis, Maureen

Fourth Advisor

Scott, Randy

Fifth Advisor

Sharpton, William

Abstract

Playing with toys as a means of environmental engagement has long been considered important in early child development (Messer, Rachford, McCarthy, & Yarrow, 1987; Wolery & Werts, 1994). However, children with highly significant disabilities often engage in toy play less frequently than their peers without disabilities (Blasco, Bailey, & Burchinal, 1993; Langley, 1985) and frequently need specialized support to promote toy play (Ivory & McCollum, 1999; Langley, 1985). Preference assessment technology was used to identify preferred sensory attributes. Those sensory attributes were embedded into a toy previously identified as nonpreferred based on selection and amount of toy play. Differences were noted in caregiver opinion of sensory preference when compared to a sensory attribute preference assessment. The initial paired-item presentation consisted of a rotation of 4 toys from the natural environment using a child-directed approach, which consisted of choice, prompting, and praise for completion of functional toy play. An additional condition added the child's preferred sensory attribute to a nonpreferred toy using the above-mentioned procedures. Results indicated that the addition of a preferred sensory attribute increased selection of that toy with 2 of 3 children, and resulted in increased independent functional toy play for all 3 children.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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