Patterns of IQ, language and symbolic play in low SES 1- to 3-year-olds
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A longitudinal study was conducted with children from low SES backgrounds in order to track patterns of development in cognition, language, and symbolic play. Maternal involvement in the play was also assessed. There were 31 mother-child dyads evaluated when the children were 1, 2, and 3 years of age. Each child was administered the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (1969) at years 1 and 2 and the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fourth Edition (1986) at year 3. The Sequenced Inventory of Communication Development (1984), with expressive and receptive language scores, was administered at each visit. Each dyad was videotaped in a 20 minute free play interaction at years 2 and 3. This was scored according to McCune-Nicholich's (1983) levels of symbolic play development and also for maternal involvement as observed in the play (Slade, 1987b).;Approximately a third of the children's IQ scores declined significantly from year 1 to year 2 and then increased significantly from year 2 to year 3 (the Recovery Group). The second third of the sample, the Decline Group, demonstrated a significant decrease in cognitive scores from year 1 to 2, with no significant change at year 3. The Static Group did not exhibit any significant changes in cognitive test scores over the three years.;There was a significant decline in receptive language scores for the Recovery Group from year 1 to 2. There was a significant decline in receptive language of the Decline Group from years 2 to 3 which may have affected the lack of improvement seen in the IQ scores at year 3. No significant change was observed for expressive language among the groups. There were improvements seen in symbolic play across groups which may be attributed to maturation. The scores of maternal involvement were not significantly associated with other variables although modifications of the measure may yield different results. The patterns of cognition were not attributed to birth status, as little difference was noted between preterm and full term subjects.;The results suggest that there are differing patterns of early cognitive, language, and play development within a low SES sample and that all areas do not necessarily follow the pattern of significant changes established by IQ scores.