Providers and parents partner in communication research

Providers and parents partner in communication research 

Seminal research on child language development at KU continues to spawn studies with far-reaching benefits, this time for young children with disabilities.

Research conducted by Betty Hart and Todd Risley demonstrated that the amount of language heard by infants in homes profoundly influences language development by age three. Follow-up of those children by LSI Juniper Gardens Children’s Project researchers showed that those early language experiences also predicted children’s later school success.

This knowledge has now been translated into effective early language intervention strategies. In a model demonstration center funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education, LSI researchers Dale Walker, Jane Atwater, Kathryn Bigelow, intervention coaches and graduate students are evaluating the intervention for young children with disabilities through a partnership with early childhood service providers in Kansas City, Olathe and Topeka.

In fact, service providers are teaching the intervention to parents by sharing graphs and reports with them and showing how the intervention improves their child’s communication.

“This project will tell us how the intervention works under real-world conditions and how to support parents’ and practitioners’ use of evidence-based strategies to promote language and literacy,” said Walker.

Dale Walker, associate research professor at the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, and Steven Warren, vice provost of research and graduate studies, established the Center for Promoting Language and Literacy Readiness in Early Childhood in 2008.