Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-15-2023


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



School Psychology


School of Education

Committee Chair

Kara E McGoey

Committee Member

Ara J Schmitt

Committee Member

Regina T Harbourne

Committee Member

James B Schreiber


Object Permanence, Infancy, Motor Delay, Mobility, Crawling


Object permanence (OP) is the ability to understand that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be perceived. During play, infants with an understanding of OP will continue searching for toys when the toys have been obscured by other items. Searching requires movement. The theory of embodied cognition maintains that the form and function of an organism’s body influence how the organism learns; Therefore, if a child has difficulties with movement, as demonstrated by children with motor delays, they will likely have difficulty engaging in play, the modality by which children learn about their world. The current research is a secondary analysis of data from START-Play. The purpose of this research is to better understand the effect of sitting and crawling acquisition on OP understanding in infants with motor delays and infants with typical development. The results indicated that the Object Permanence Scale (OPS) demonstrated evidence of inter-rater reliability and validity. Latent class analysis (LCA) was executed to determine if the OPS can detect two latent classes (sitters and crawlers) at baseline, 1.5mo post-baseline, and 3mo post-baseline. The LCA indicated that a single-class model fits best at each time point. Further, infant obtainment of crawling skill does not create a distinct profile from infant sitters as measured by the OPS within the current sample. Evidence underscores support for school psychologists to collaborate with other professionals (e.g., physical and occupational therapists) to assist infants in their ability to sit and learn through play.