Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Special Education

First Committee Member

William C. Healey

Number of Pages



This study investigated the efficacy of using facilitated and nonfacilitated play groups as an intervention for facilitating the social interactive behaviors of young children with and without disabilities. Sixteen students aged four to five years from a community-based preschool on a university campus participated in the study. The facilitated play group was assigned a facilitator who was trained to encourage the social and play interactions among the children using the guided participation strategies adapted from the Integrated Play Groups Resource Manual (Wolfberg & Schuler, 1992). The nonfacilitated play group was assigned the same adult-whose only role was to monitor the children. Each eight-child play group met 20 minutes a day, four days a week, for four weeks (16 sessions). Data collected included the Social Skills Rating Skills System pretests and posttests. Video taped observations of the subjects' qualitative and quantitative social interactive behaviors were collected during weeks one and four. They were analyzed using the Social Interactive Observation Scale (SIOS) and the Observer Manual. Results indicated a statistically significant difference for two of the fifteen social interactive behaviors for subjects in the facilitated play group. The number of times the subjects with and without disabilities initiated interactions towards each other actually decreased from the initial to the final observation. A statistically significant relationship appeared between disability status and the score on the social skills posttest regardless of play group assignment. A statistically significant effect was found for decreased problem behaviors posttest scores regardless of play group assignment or disability status. All of the subjects' problem behaviors decreased as a result of their involvement in the study. Some of the children with disabilities had higher social scores on the pretest measures than their peers without disabilities. This needs to be considered when configuring play groups. Future research is needed to determine what level of adult facilitation is appropriate for establishing a context in which young children can be supported to increase their social skills in a play group setting.


Childhood; Development; Early; Early Childhood; Facilitating; Groups; Play; Play Groups; Preschool; Settings; Social; Social Development

Controlled Subject

Early childhood education; Special education; Social psychology; Developmental psychology

File Format


File Size

2631.68 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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