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Language interventions delivered by parents

Roberts, M. Y., & Kaiser, A. P. (2011). The effectiveness of parent-implemented language interventions: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20(3), 180–199. Aim of the paper: Parents play an important role in their children’s language development and parent-implemented language interventions have gain theoretical and policy-based support. Yet, there is a need to review the experimental evidence for parent-implemented interventions. This paper aims to understand the effects of parent-implemented interventions on the language skills of children between 18 to 60 months of age with language impairment. This is done by reviewing 18 research studies that looked at parent-implemented language interventions. Key terms- Parent-implemented = Parent delivers the intervention Therapist-implemented = Speech and Language Therapist delivers the intervention What they found:

  • Parent-implemented language interventions had positive, significant effects on both receptive and expressive language skills.

  • There was no difference between parent- and therapist- implemented interventions for most language constructs. Also, children receiving parent-implemented interventions had richer vocabulary than children receiving therapist-implemented interventions.

  • Parents who received parent training for language intervention were more responsive and used more language models. Note: a language model is where parents model out the language that they would like their child to develop, instead of just correcting them. For example, if a child points to a dog saying, “dog eats”, the parent can say, “the dog eats the bone”.

What does this mean? Overall, the effects of parent-implemented language interventions are positive and significant. It is unclear how exactly parental language support improves children’s language outcomes. The authors suggest that children may have made language gains because parents learnt to use specific language intervention strategies after training. Most research reviewed lacks detail about the parent training that they included. This means no recommendations can be made about the specific features of parent-implemented intervention that are most effective. Still, several more general recommendations are made: 1) Interventions should focus on parent-child interactions. 2) Parents should be taught how to increase the volume and complexity of their language when interacting with their young children. 3) Parents should be trained at home and across everyday routines. 4) Training about once per week may be sufficient to improve child language outcomes. Where can I read this paper? This paper is not open access so we cannot provide a link at this time. If you wish to read the full paper, please email


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