Real-World Performance: Physical Activity, Play, and Object-Related Behaviors of Toddlers With and Without Disabilities

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To describe and compare the occurrence and co-occurrence of physical activity (PA), play, and object-related behaviors in toddlers with and without disabilities.


Participants included 23 toddlers (21 with typical development (TD) and 2 with disabilities). Direct observation was used to describe the type and level of PA, play interactions, and object-related behaviors through video recordings.


Toddlers demonstrated high variability, occurrence, and co-occurrence of all behaviors. Toddlers with disabilities displayed less variability, occurrence, and co-occurrence of several behaviors.


Toddlers with TD engage simultaneously in PA, play, and object-related behaviors for about 3 hours in a typical day. This same level of co-occurrence of behaviors may not be observed for children with disabilities. Intervention providers are encouraged to consider the behaviors of toddlers with TD, beyond the findings of this pilot study, as the reference standard when implementing technology and intervention strategies for children with disabilities.

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