The Bridge School

Communicative Competence

Westby Symbolic Play Scale

This is a research-based scale that describes symbolic play development as it correlates to typical language development through the first 5 years. Symbolic skills are essential for learning and using language, and are particularly important for young children learning to use AAC tools and symbols to communicate. Westby developed a Play Scale Checklist that can be used to track where a child’s symbolic play skills fall and inform the selection of language goals and play-based interventions to target those goals. The original article also includes an observation form that can be adapted and used for data collection and progress monitoring.

References and Links

Westby, C. (1980). Assessment of Cognitive and Language Abilities Through Play. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 11, 154-168.

ASHA members can go to download the article for free at: