Hall, J. (2015). Effects of Child-Centered Play Therapy on Social Skills, Academic Achievement, and Self-Concept of Children with Learning Disabilities: A Single Case Design. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
A multiple baseline design across participants was used to examine the effects of child-centered play therapy (CCPT) on the social skills, academic achievement, and self-concept of third grade students who were identified with a specific learning disability (LD). Two male, African American students and one female, Caucasian student were included in this study. Students participated in sixteen 30-minute play therapy sessions. The primary dependent variable was student self-report of total social skills using an adapted version of the Social Skills Rating Scale (SSRS). Academic achievement was measured through weekly curriculum-based measures which were a part of the students' regular education curriculum. The Piers-Harris 2 was used as a pre/post measure of self-concept. Results of this study did not show a functional relation between CCPT and student total social skills. However, improvement was noted in mean scores of social skills measures for all students in the areas of cooperation and self-control as well as empathy for one student. Some scales of the Piers-Harris 2 (physical appearance and attributes, freedom from anxiety, happiness and satisfaction, and total score) improved for some students. CCPT did not appear to have an effect on academic achievement. Results of social validity surveys indicated positive impacts on the students from students, teachers, parents, principal, and school counselor. This was the first study of its kind measuring these variables using the CCPT intervention and single case design. Implications of this study include providing school counselors with an appropriate measure for data collection, model for therapeutic service, and methodology for research in the schools. Additionally, implications for counselor educators regarding coursework on single case design methodologies that adhere to guidelines for evidence based practice and training on CCPT for school counselors are discussed. Recommendations include replication of this study using different instruments (direct observation), pre-intervention screenings, and longer intervention periods to discern possible impacts CCPT may have on social skills, academic achievement, and self-concept of students with LDs. Additionally, future research should examine how CCPT impacts academic engagement, expression of feelings, and confidence of students with and without LDs.