Simplifying Parental Language or Increasing Verbal Responsiveness, What is the Most Efficient Way to Enhance Pre-schoolers’ Verbal Interactions?

Elise Brassart, Marie-Anne Schelstraete


Literature shows that parent-implemented language interventions have positive effects on children language skills. Nevertheless, studies in this field suffer from two limitations. This pilot study compared the efficiency of two brief self-implemented interventions, each aiming to manipulate a specific parenting language variable, on a non-clinical sample of preschoolers. Sixty participants were randomly allocated to: (1) Responsive group: forty-minute intervention in order to enhance the parents’ responsiveness (20 participants), (2) Structural group: forty-minute intervention in order to simplify the parental language (20 participants), (3) Control group: forty-minute program that did not deal with parental issues (20 participants). A parent/child play session was administered before and after the intervention in order to make a pre-post comparison. Results showed several modifications only after the responsive intervention, including an equilibration of parent/child turn-taking. First, results demonstrated that increasing parent’s responsiveness is more efficient than simplifying parental language to enhance verbal interactions. Second, as these patterns of communication are associated with language and behavioral development, it would be a first step toward the creation of brief and cost-effective responsive interventions for prevention purposes in pre-schoolers.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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