Original Research

Relationship between verbal language and symbolic play - A case study

Denise Segal
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 27, No 1 | a362 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v27i1.362 | © 1980 Denise Segal | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 November 1980 | Published: 14 November 1980

About the author(s)

Denise Segal, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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The linguistic ability and play of  a language-impaired child were analysed to determine whether a breakdown in symbolic play occurs together with a language deficit. Observation of  play was conducted at the child's nursery school (unstructured situation) and in a situation designed to elicit specific  play behaviours (structured situation). Imaginative play and its concomitants — affect,  mood variability, concentration, aggression and interaction — were rated along descriptive scales, while each individual play unit was scored for  organization of  behaviour. Syntactic, semantic and phonological aspects of  language were recorded during free  play and analyzed within a syntactic framework.  The normal developmental sequence provided the baseline of comparison for  both language and play. Results indicated a developmental lag in play and a linguistic deviation from the normal pattern, which supported the possibility of a general representational deficit.  A method for  incorporating symbolic play into a language programme was suggested and the necessity for  normative studies in this area was stressed.


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