Thelength of this observation was approximately forty five minutes. For the purposeof confidentiality this student will be referred to as John. In the firstsection of this observational analysis a brief description of the program whichJohn participates in will be given. This will be followed by an analysis ofJohn’s activities during the observation. Observation The day treatment program John participates in is located on the campusof a public elementary school, and is supported by a local private mental healthagency.
In general, children referred to this program experience some form ofemotional and/or social deficit. In addition to John, there are nine otherstudents enrolled within the program at present. John currently attends amainstreaming class three times per week, where he has developed severalfriendships with his peers. This observation began as the students in the day treatment program werelet out for recess following lunch. After leaving the class John ran to thedesignated play area with another student.
The designated play area of theplayground where the students of this program are restricted to consists of a”jungle bar” set ; This play structure consists of “monkey bars” with tallvertical poles for sliding down attached at each end, three parallel bars ofvarying height, and horizontal bars constructed in a ladder fashion for climbingon. Additionally, the designated area includes a tether ball court, and abalancing beam constructed in a “Z” shape. The staff has restricted the studentsof the program to this area due to these childrens’ limited abilities todemonstrate social skills, and in order to better supervise the group duringrecess activities. However, other children at the school are not restricted fromthis area and interact freely with the children from the program. After John had arrived at the play area he immediately jumped onto theparallel bars and began to swing back and forth, and launched himself into theair landing awkwardly almost falling down.
John preceded to jump up onto the”monkey bars. ” John climbed about half way across, where he was confronted withanother student who was crossing in the opposite direction. At this point Johnjumped off of the bars and ran back to where he had begun, and proceeded toattempt crossing the bars again and made it. John went back to the parallel barswhere he proceeded to swing, jumping off periodically. At one point Johnattempted to gain the staffs attention to watch what he could do on the bars;John swung himself repeatedly and then let one hand go, this spun him to oneside where another parallel bar was located, which John grabbed onto. The staffshouted “good job John,” which seemed to motivate John to repeat this trick afew more times.
After playing on the bars for a while longer, John went over to twoother peers from his class who were engaging in pretend play. These childrenappeared to be playing a game of “army combat,” as they were running aboutshooting each other. John ran around the play area attempting to shoot his peerswith his machine gun, and ended when they began pretending to be in hand-to-handcombat . At this point this point the staff directed the students not to get toophysical, and the small group of children ran off.
John played with this group for a while longer, as they would shoot ateach other periodically and ran around the play area. John disengaged himselffrom playing with this group as he was distracted by a nearby puddle of water. John jumped over the puddle, and was prompted by the staff not to step in thewater. After this warning John jumped over the puddle a few more times beforepicking up a stick, which he used to poke and investigate the tiny pool. Johnseemed very interested in this activity, and spent approximately five to eightminutes investigating what he had found before loosing interest and returning tothe bars. There were more children now playing on the bars then had been earlier,and John seemed to grow inpatient; There were about four children occupying theparallel bars doing various .