Early childhood language difficulties can have a snowball effect, impacting children’s ability to learn and express themselves. As director of the Language, Literacy, and Learning Lab at Temple University College of Public Health, Dr. Rebecca Alper knows that parent-implemented early language intervention can be very effective, but that approaches that work well for some families don’t work as well for others.
There’s been much research on different kinds of interventions and childhood factors that may predict success. But, surprisingly, researchers haven’t closely examined how much the readiness of caregivers themselves to help their children plays a role. With a new five-year, $813,010 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Alper is conducting a study in which she will examine how parent characteristics impact upon both parent-child interaction quality and child outcomes.
“Language intervention for young children often involves a clinician partnering with a parent to maximize the child’s learning environment. However, parents, not just children, have different strengths and challenges that might impact how they interact with their child and are able to deliver early language intervention,” says Dr. Alper, who is a licensed speech-language pathologist and assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “Understanding these individual differences could help us provide more effective parent training and improve child language intervention outcomes.”
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