Little Talks: A Modular Treatment Approach for Promoting Infant and Toddler Language Acquisition Through Parents’ Preferences and Competencies
The first three years of a child’s life are marked by rapid development, forming trajectories for ongoing development and learning. In the USA, almost half of the population of children under three experience levels of socioeconomic disadvantage that threaten their development and later success, particularly in the areas of language acquisition. Immigrant children are largely represented in this group. Given the pivotal role of parent–child interactions to children’s language development, early intervention should build upon parents’ cultural strengths and values. This chapter presents an overview of the development and evaluation of Little Talks, an intervention designed for home visiting programs serving low-income infants and toddlers. Little Talks was designed in partnership with low-income, ethnic minority parents and Early Head Start home visiting staff to ensure that it would be culturally meaningful and feasible. The Little Talks intervention is coupled with implementation supports to enable home visitors to tailor it to individual children and their parents. Emerging evidence supports Little Talks’ effectiveness in enhancing parents’ involvement in children’s learning activities and in preventing elevations in maternal depression, especially for Spanish-speaking, newly immigrant parents. Promising impacts on children’s communication and language skills have also been observed.
KeywordsEarly intervention Parent–child book sharing Infants and toddlers Home visiting Poverty
- Buzhardt, J., Greenwood, C. R., Walker, D., Anderson, R., Howard, W., & Carta, J. J. (2011). Effects of web-based support on EHS home visitors’ use of evidence-based intervention decision making and growth in children’s expressive communication. NHSA Dialog: A Research-to-Practice Journal for the Early Childhood Field, 14(3), 121–146. https://doi.org/10.1080/15240754.2011.587614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cates, C. B., Dreyer, B. P., Berkule, S. B., White, L. J., Arevalo, J. A., & Mendelsohn, A. L. (2013). Infant communication and subsequent language development in children from low income families: The role of early cognitive stimulation. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 33, 577–585.Google Scholar
- Chorpita, B. F., Daleiden, E. L., Park, A. L., Ward, A. M., Levy, M. C., Cromley, T., …, Krull, J. L. (2017). Child STEPs in California: A cluster randomized effectiveness trial comparing modular treatment with community implemented treatment for youth with anxiety, depression, conduct problems, or traumatic stress. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 85(1), 13–25. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000133.
- Chorpita, B. F., Weisz, J. R., Daleiden, E. L., Schnoenwald, S. K., Palinkas, L. A., Miranda, J., … Ward, A. (2013). Research network on youth mental health. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81, 999–1009. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034200.
- Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112(1), 155–159.Google Scholar
- Eaton, W. W., Muntaner, C., Smith, C., Tien, A., & Ybarra, M. (2004). Center for epidemiologic studies depression scale: Review and revision (CESD and CESD-R). In M. E. Maruish (Ed.), The use of psychological testing for treatment planning and outcomes assessment (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Friedmann, N., & Rusou, D. (2015). Critical period for first language: The crucial role of language input during the first year of life. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 3527–3534.Google Scholar
- Glover, M. E., Preminger, J. L., et al. (1995). The early learning accomplishment profile for developmentally young children. Chapel Hill, NC: Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project Inc.Google Scholar
- Greenwood, C. R., Carta, J. J., Baggett, K., Buzhardt, J., Walker, D., & Terry, B. (2008). Best practices in integrating progress monitoring and response-to-intervention concepts into early childhood systems; Early Communication Indicator for Infants and Toddlers 333 In A. Thomas, J. Grimes, & J. Gruba (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology V (pp. 535–548). Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychology.Google Scholar
- Hammond, W. (2010). Principles of strength-based practice. Resiliency Initiatives. Retrieved from http://www.ayscbc.org/Principles%20of%20Strength-2.pdf.
- Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.Google Scholar
- Iruka, I. U., Brown, D., Jerald, J., & Blitch, K. (2018). Early steps to school success (ESSS): Examining pathways linking home visiting and language outcomes. Child & Youth Care Forum, 47(2), 283–301. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-017-9430-1.
- Issacs, J. B. (2012). Starting school at a disadvantage: The school readiness of poor children. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institute.Google Scholar
- Jiang, Y., Granja, M. R., & Koball, H. (2017). Basic facts about low-income children: Children under 3 years, 2015. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.Google Scholar
- Korfmacher, J., Green, B., Staerkel, F., Peterson, C., Cook, G., Roggman, L., … Schiffman, R. (2008). Parent involvement in early childhood home visiting. Child Youth Care Forum, 37, 171–196.Google Scholar
- Lopez, G., & Radford, J. (2017). Facts on U.S. immigrants: Statistical portrait of the foreign-born population in the United States. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.Google Scholar
- Luo, R., Tamis-LeMonda, C. S., Kuchirko, Y., F Ng, F., & Liang, E. (2014). Mother–child book‐sharing and children’s storytelling skills in ethnically diverse, low‐income families. Infant and Child Development, 23(4), 402–425.Google Scholar
- Manz, P. H., Eisenberg, R. A., Gernhart, A., Faison, J., Laracy, S., Ridgard, T., & Pinho, T. (2016). Engaging early head start parents in a collaborative inquiry: The co-construction of little talks. Early Child Development and Care. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2016.1169177.
- Manz, P. H., Gernhart, A. C., Bracaliello, C. B., Pressimone, V. P., & Eisenberg, R. A. (2014). Preliminary development of the parent Involvement in early learning scale for low-income families enrolled in a child development focused home visiting program. Journal of Early Intervention, 36(3), 171–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Manz, P. H., Hughes, C., Barnabas, E., Bracaliello, C., & Ginsburg-Block, M. (2010). A descriptive review and meta-analysis of family-based emergent literacy interventions: To what extent is the research applicable to low-income, ethnic-minority or linguistically-diverse young children? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25(4), 409–431, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2010.03.002.
- Manz, P. H., Power, T. J., Roggman, L. A., Eisenberg, R., Gernhart, A., Faison, J., et al. (2017). Integrating the little talks intervention into EHS: An experimental examination of implementation supports involving fidelity monitoring and performance feedback. Child and Youth Services Review, 79, 87–96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.05.034.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Manz, P. H., Roggman, L. A., & Power, T. J. (2012). Little talks: Developing the role of early head start home visitors to provide evidence-based intervention to families. Health resources and services administration grant.Google Scholar
- Melzi, G. (2013). Érase una vez: Latino family narrative practices during the preschool years. In H. K. M. Caspe & D. Hiatt-Michael (Eds.), Family school community partnership issues: Promising practices for engaging families in literacy (pp. 45–57). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
- Neuman, S. B., & Celano, D. C. (2012). Giving our children a fighting change: Poverty, Literacy, and the development of information capital. New York, NY: Teachers College, Columbia University.Google Scholar
- Noell, G. H., Witt, J. C., Slider, N. J., Connell, J. E., Gatti, S. L., Williams, K. L., et al. (2005). Treatment implementation following behavioral consultation in schools: A comparison of three follow-up strategies. School Psychology Review, 34, 87–106.Google Scholar
- Pan, B. A., Rowe, M. L., Singer, J. D., & Snow, C. E. (2006). Maternal correlates of growth in toddler vocabulary production in low-income families. Child Development, 76(4), 763–783.Google Scholar
- Rodriguez, E. T., Tamis-LeMonda, C. S., Spellmann, M. E., Pan, B. A., Raikes, H., Lugo-Gil, J., et al. (2009). The formative role of home literacy experiences across the first three years of life in children from low-income families. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30, 677–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Roggman, L. A., Boyce, L. K., & Innocenti, M. S. (2008). Developmental parenting: A guide for early childhood practitioners. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.Google Scholar
- Sama-Miller, E., Akers, L., Mraz-Esposito, A., Avellar, S., Paulsell, D., & Del Grosso, P. (2017). Home visiting evidence of effectiveness review: Executive summary. Washington, D.C.: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of health and human Services.Google Scholar
- Shonkoff, J. P., & Phillips, D. A. (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
- Shore, R. (2003). Rethinking the brain: New insights into early development. New York, NY: Families and Work Institute.Google Scholar
- Weisz, J. R., & Chorpita, B. F. (2012). Mod squad for child psychotherapy: Restructuring evidence-based treatment for clinical practice. In P. C. Kendall (Ed.), Child and adolescent therapy: Cognitive-behavioral procedures (4th ed.). New York, NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Zarate, M. E. (2007). Understanding Latino parental involvement in education: Perceptions, expectations, and recommendations. Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI), 1–19. Retrieved from www.trpi.org.
- Zevenbergen, A. A., & Whitehurst, G. J. (2003). Dialogic reading: A shared picture book reading intervention for preschoolers. In A. van Kleeck, S. A. Stahl, & E. B. Bauer (Eds.), On reading books to children: Parents and teachers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Zimmerman, L., Steiner, V., & Pond, R. (2011). Preschool language scale (5th ed.). San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar