Repetitive Activity in the Play of Children With Mental Retardation

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It has been widely observed that young children with mental retardation engage in more repetitive activity than other children although the meaning and purpose of such activity is unclear. To better understand repetitive play, we investigated amount, quality, and persistence of spontaneous repetitive play and alternative types of play with 14 children with Down syndrome and 14 children without delay. Children with Down syndrome engaged in more repetitive activity, however the quality of repetitive and non-repetitive play was similar. Results suggest that repetitive play may serve the same constructive purposes for children with Down syndrome and children without delay. Educators should evaluate carefully when repetitive play may be useful and when it needs to be interrupted and redirected.

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