Effect of Occupational Therapy–Led Playgroups in Early Intervention on Child Playfulness and Caregiver Responsiveness: A Repeated-Measures Design

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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.

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