Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MA in Child Development


Child Development Graduate Program


Children tend to develop skills in specific trajectories that have been heavily researched and theorized. However, some children exhibit delays in their development which then might have effects on other skills and areas of development. This paper will outline the typical developmental stages that children go through in terms of their physical, cognitive, social-emotional, language and play development. It will also detail a child’s development of play skills and how other areas of development, with special focus on social-emotional and language development, contribute to acquisition of play skills and, alternatively, how play development often contributes to progression of development in other areas. The paper will then describe interventions, and specific techniques derived from these interventions, that are used in working with groups of children with language delays where the main goal is to facilitate social interaction and play between children. Finally, implications of the research on child development, developmental delays, and the importance of play for this population will be addressed, ending with the argument that child-directed free play should not be disregarded and instead should be reintegrated back into schools.