The effect of training setting on parents' use of language facilitation skills with their language delayed preschool children.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
When young children do not acquire language skills at an appropriate rate before entering school, the delay can impact detrimentally on later learning opportunities. Particularly during the preschool years the children's immediate caregivers, usually the parents, are likely to have the most frequent opportunities to interact through language with the children and are therefore recognised as significant intervention agents in cases where delay is evident. A review of studies which had involved training parents in the use of language facilitation skills found that training programmes are generally successful in assisting parents to acquire new skills, that parents can maintain their use of skills for some time after the training has ceased and that parents use of new skills can have a positive impact on the language development of their children. The effect of the setting in which training takes place on all of these factors has not been systematically evaluated. The present study was designed to compare the effects of home-based and centre-based training on parents' continued use, after the completion of training, of particular conversational behaviours, and on their children's language development. Parents were trained to use enthusiastic expression, scaffolding questions and scaffolding contributions of new information in conversations about past events with their children who had delayed language skills, as strategies for extending the time spent in conversational interaction with their children. Eight parent-child dyads participated in a training programme. Four received training in their homes and four in a clinic. Data on the parents' conversational skills were collected via analysis of audio-tapes of conversations carried out in generalisation settings in the home prior to training, during the training phase and after training. Data on children's participation in conversations was also obtained from the recorded conversations. The children's language development over the duration of the programme was assessed. The findings suggest that the parents who received home-based training may show greater maintenance in use of the trained skills in conversations with their children, in the weeks following the completion of the training programme, than the parents who received clinic-based training. The children of the home-trained parents generally showed the strongest improvements in their language development. These results are discussed in the context of research on the relationship between quantity of language experienced by children and their language development. Implications regarding intervention settings are also outlined.