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Live Webcast

Connecting Play and Language to Literacy and Social-Emotional Development: Assessment and Treatment for Young Children

Carol Westby
Full Day
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Live Webcast - Also available: Digital Seminar


Play is the window into—and the foundation for— the development of language, text comprehension, cognition and social-emotional skills in children. It’s essential to know children’s developmental play level if we are to select appropriate play interventions. Yet there are few tools that allow the clinician or teacher to look at these skills in a holistic way.

The Westby Play Scale gives us just that—it’s a unique assessment tool that allows us to evaluate these skills while children play!

Watch Dr. Westby, internationally-renowned expert on play assessment and development and languageliteracy relationships, and learn to effectively use the Westby Play Scale to assess children’s symbolic play skill level, language skills and how they use language. Supported by 40 years of evidence-based research, the scales will help you set goals at the right developmental level for all the young children (birth-5) you work with.

Don’t miss this chance to learn from Dr. Westby, an icon in the field who will teach you how to integrate the play practices and play strategies essential to promote:

  • Higher-level thinking, problem-solving and creativity
  • A range of language skills
  • The foundations for developing text comprehension
  • Awareness of temporal, cause-effect and social relationships
  • Empathy, which is important for interpreting and responding appropriately to the needs, desires, and roles of others
  • Interactions essential for social-emotional development
  • Ability to self-regulate, organize and monitor their own behavior so they can become independent, self-motivated learners

Register today and learn an approach that targets skills at appropriate developmental levels for children, builds language simultaneously, is highly transferable and most of all, is fun! 



NOTE: Tuition includes one free CE Certificate (participant will be able to print the certificate of completion after completing and passing the on-line post-test evaluation). 

Continuing Education Information: Listed below are the continuing education credit(s) currently available for this live interactive webcast. Please note, your state licensing board dictates whether web based activities are an acceptable form of continuing education. Please refer to your state rules and regulations. If your profession is not listed, please contact your licensing board to determine your continuing education requirements and check for reciprocal approval. For other credit inquiries not specified below, please contact or 800-844-8260 before the event.

Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals.  As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.

CE Information is based on 100% attendance.

Information obtained in this course should be used within your scope of practice.


This activity consists of 6.25 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please save the course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements.


This course is designed to qualify towards your professional development requirement. The course is 6.25 clock hours in length.

Occupational Therapists & Occupational Therapy Assistants


PESI, Inc. is an AOTA Approved Provider of continuing education. Provider #: 3322. Full attendance at this course qualifies for 6.0 contact hours or .6 CEUs in the Category of Domain of OT and Occupational Therapy Process. Partial credit will be issued for partial attendance. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA. Course Level: Intermediate.


This live activity consists of 6.25 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please save the course outline and the certificate of completion you receive from this live activity. Contact us for more information on your state board or organization specific filing requirements. American Psychological Association credits are not available.

School Psychologists

PESI, Inc. is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists to offer professional development for school psychologists. PESI maintains responsibility for the program. Provider #1140. PESI is offering this activity for 6.25 hours of continuing education credit. Full attendance is required; no partial credits will be offered for partial attendance.

Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists


This course is offered for .6 live ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area).

** Please note that Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists must complete the post-test and evaluation within two weeks of attending the live webcast if they would like their participation submitted to the ASHA CE Registry. Detailed instructions will be provided the day of the program under the Handouts section of the online program.

Social Workers

PESI, Inc., #1062, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. PESI, Inc. maintains responsibility for the course. ACE provider approval period: January 27, 2017 - January 27, 2020. Social Workers completing this course receive 6.25 (Clinical Practice) continuing education credits. Course level: Intermediate. Full attendance is required. No partial credit will be offered for partial attendance. A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the program to social workers who complete the program evaluation.

Other Professions

This activity qualifies for 380 continuing education minutes as required by many national, state and local licensing boards and professional organizations. Save your activity advertisement and certificate of completion, and contact your own board or organization for specific requirements. 


Carol Westby Related seminars and products: 4


Carol Westby, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is a fellow of the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and holds Specialty Recognition in Child Language. She received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Iowa’s Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the ASHA Award for Contributions to Multicultural Affairs and the honors of ASHA.

For over 20 years, Dr. Westby has been principal investigator on a number of clinical service, research and personnel preparation grants, including Project LIGHTS, a personnel preparation program to educate speech-language pathologists, special education teachers and school psychologists to work with children with autism spectrum disorders; and Project PLAY (Play and Language Attunement in Young Children), which trained caregivers to increase the quality and frequency of interactions that promote development of theory of mind (ToM) and language.

Dr. Westby developed a social-emotional program to develop ToM in young elementary school children who exhibit bully-like and victim-like behaviors. Dr. Westby is the developer of the Westby Play Scale, a checklist used to assess children's social and play skills. She has published and presented nationally and internationally on theory of mind, play, language-literacy relationships, narrative/expository development and facilitation, assessment and facilitation of written language, metacognition/executive function, and issues in assessment and intervention with culturally/linguistically diverse populations.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Carol Westby is a consultant for Bilingual Multicultural Services. Dr. Westby receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She is the author of numerous chapters and articles; and is published by various publishers including Jones & Bartlett and Pearson.

Non-financial: Carol Westby is the developer of the Westby Play Scale. Dr. Westby is a fellow of the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access Period for Live Webcast

For live CE credit, you must watch the live webcast in its entirety at its scheduled time and complete the CE quiz and evaluation within one week. You will have access for 90 days after the program for review.

Webcast Schedule

Please note: There will be a lunch and two 15-minute breaks; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Lunch and break times will be announced by the speaker and at their discretion. A more detailed schedule is available upon request.


Frameworks for Understanding Play: Cognitive-Social-Literac Relationships

  • What’s happened to play?
  • A dynamic systems approach to learning through play
  • The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning
  • Nature and nurture foundations for play

Westby Play Scale: An Assessment Framework to Evaluate and Treat Children’s

  • Precursor skills and early language development
  • Development of pretend play and language development

Emergent Presymbolic Play (Birth - 17 months)

  • Attuned interactional play
  • Joint attention/referencing in play
  • Functional toy use and coordinated interactions in play

Development of Pretend Play Dimensions (17 months – 5 years): Relationship of Play Dimensions to Language and Literacy

  • Theory of Mind Dimension (understanding thoughts and feelings of self and others)
  • Decontextualization Dimension (reduced use of props in play)
  • Thematic Dimension (from familiar to novel pretend themes)
  • Organization Dimension (sequencing and planning of play)

Develop Pretend Play Skills to Set the Foundations for Language and Literacy

  • Extend play themes, prop use and sequences within play
  • Advance higher-level thinking, problem-solving and creativity
  • Build interactions essential for social-emotional development
  • Develop theory of mind through demonstrating the perspectives of others in the play scenarios
  • Build literate-style language through play Use play as the nexus into developing oral narrative skills
  • Use play as the nexus into developing oral narrative skills
  • Phonological awareness skills through playful practices


  1. Determine how play deficits cause intellectual, social, emotional and physical harm to children.
  2. Articulate the development and interrelationships of cognition, play, language, social-emotional skills and literacy.
  3. Assess a child’s play development and language skills using the Westby Play Scale.
  4. Recommend appropriate activities and strategies to develop young children’s language/social-emotional/play skills at each level.
  5. Employ play to promote the cognitive, language, social-emotional and self-regulation skills that underlie children’s effective social interactions and literacy comprehension.
  6. Establish how play can facilitate self-regulation, empathy and the foundations for reading comprehension. 

Target Audience

  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Speech-Language Pathology Assistants
  • Psychologists School Psychologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • Reading Specialists
  • Head Start Staff
  • Early Childhood
  • Special Education Staff
  • Learning Disabilities Specialists
  • Preschool Teachers
  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Other Helping Professionals who Work with Children (Birth - 5 Years)



Overall:      4.3

Total Reviews: 1216


Jennifer D

"I appreciated how Carol Westby engaged the participants in a variety of ways. For example, she started talking about her raising ducks, which was an innovative and attention-getting way of making her point. It helped me refocus on the material and stay engaged (similar to a Brain Break that educators do so often with students). I can't say enough positive things about this learning."

Elaine H


Edith B

"I requested some handouts that were emailed to me immediately. Thank you!"

Amy S

"None at this time."

Mari Ann J

"I was very pleased with this course. The speaker was excellent. It was my first experience with a live webinar of this length and my expectations were exceeded."

Meryl R

"I have followed Carol Westby since the early 1980's when I was a student in Graduate School! This was a magnificent presentation! Thank you!"

Deborah A

"Dr. Westby did an excellent job of communicating how important play is to literacy and language development"

Heather J

"Worthwhile course! We enjoyed it."

Deborah T

"Excellent presentation! Carol Westby is a superb presenter in every way. Thank you!"

Jessica G

"I was very pleased with this webinar. I have taken webinars in the past where I was not able to see the instructor, making it difficult to pay attention. However, with this webinar it felt as if Carol Westby was in the room with us. I would definitely consider doing another webinar like this. "

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