Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree Completion

Winter 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Mary Radeke

Second Committee Member

Dr. Richard Marsicano

Third Committee Member

Cristina Bistricean

Abstract

ABSTRACT

THE EFFECTS OF THERAPY BALLS ON IN-SEAT AND ON-TASK BEHAVIOR IN YOUNG CHILDREN

by

Ariel Chanel Ching

February 2019

This study utilized an alternating treatment design to study the effects of therapy balls, chairs, and the element of choice on the in-seat and on-task behaviors of three, preschool-aged children. Participants were between 4 and 5 years old, typically developing, and were selected based on their ability to make a choice between two different stimuli. This study was conducted at a table, with the participant engaging in a fine-motor activity that they had shown preference to, based on a paired-stimulus preference assessment (Play-Doh, coloring, magnetic blocks, etc.). It was hypothesized that the participants would show higher rates of in-seat and on-task behavior when seated on the therapy ball, and when given the choice, would select the seating arrangement that produced the highest rates of in-seat and on-task behavior. Data were collected for twenty consecutive weekdays (after baseline) and the results indicated that in-seat and on-task behavior increased slightly for the therapy ball condition compared to the chair condition. Additionally, for the choice conditions, each participant chose the therapy ball and further analysis indicated little difference between assigned therapy ball conditions and choice therapy ball conditions. Further research is needed in order to conclude whether or not therapy balls are more or less advantageous in a preschool classroom, as opposed to the typical chair, as well as to evaluate the effects that choice has on a child’s ability to stay in-seat and on-task.

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