Feasibility and Benefit of Parent Participation in a Program Emphasizing Preschool Child Language Development While Homeless Purpose This exploratory study examined the feasibility of homeless parents' participation in an intervention to increase use of facilitating language strategies during interactions with their preschool children while residing in family homeless shelters. This study also examined the intervention’s impact on the parents' use of facilitating language strategies, regardless of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2009
Feasibility and Benefit of Parent Participation in a Program Emphasizing Preschool Child Language Development While Homeless
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Therese M. O'Neil-Pirozzi
    Northeastern University, Boston
  • Contact author: Therese M. O'Neil-Pirozzi, Northeastern University-Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology, 20 Parklawn Road, West Roxbury, MA 02132. E-mail: t.oneil-pirozzi@neu.edu.
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2009
Feasibility and Benefit of Parent Participation in a Program Emphasizing Preschool Child Language Development While Homeless
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2009, Vol. 18, 252-263. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2008/08-0006)
History: Received February 11, 2008 , Accepted December 7, 2008
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2009, Vol. 18, 252-263. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2008/08-0006)
History: Received February 11, 2008; Accepted December 7, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

Purpose This exploratory study examined the feasibility of homeless parents' participation in an intervention to increase use of facilitating language strategies during interactions with their preschool children while residing in family homeless shelters. This study also examined the intervention’s impact on the parents' use of facilitating language strategies, regardless of parent performance on a single-word receptive vocabulary test.

Method Using a prospective, pretest/posttest comparison group design, 12 parents were randomly assigned to a 4-session experimental group training emphasizing use of facilitating language utterances with children following vocabulary testing. Four parents were randomly assigned to a control group intervention.

Results It was feasible for parents to participate in the intervention. Before the intervention, individual experimental group parents with poor test performance demonstrated relatively high use of facilitating language utterances. After the intervention, the experimental group increased use of facilitating language utterances during interactions with their children.

Conclusions This exploratory study provides initial evidence that it is feasible for parents to participate in, and benefit from, a brief language-based group intervention while residing in family homeless shelters. Further study of language-based interventions for these at-risk families and of the possible impact of parent language functioning on intervention benefit is needed.

Acknowledgments
The Northeastern University Institute on Urban Health Research and the Northeastern University Bouvé College School of Health Sciences supported this study. Recognition is extended to Chia-Hung Chou for his guidance with data analysis.
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