Communication Sciences and Disorders Publications


Exploring participation and impairment-based outcomes for Target Word™: A parent-implemented intervention for preschoolers identified as late-to-talk

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Child Language Teaching and Therapy





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© The Author(s) 2019. This study explored participation- and impairment-based outcomes for 24 late-to-talk toddlers (M age = 20.46 months, SD = 3.09, 62.5% male) whose parents participated in Target Word™, The Hanen Program® for Parents of Children who are Late Talkers in community clinics across Ontario. Parents completed the MacArthur–Bates Communicative Development Inventories (MBCDI), The Focus on the Outcomes of Communication Under Six (FOCUS-34), and a speech sound checklist: (1) prior to starting the program, (2) at the end of direct intervention, and (3) after a consolidation period. Speech-language pathologists classified children’s communicative function using the Communication Function Classification System (CFCS) at all assessment points and provided FOCUS scores from an initial assessment. No change was recorded in CFCS levels between initial assessment and start of the program, but many children moved to a more advanced level by the end of the program (n = 12) or consolidation period (n = 19). Significant changes in children’s communicative participation skills (FOCUS) were found between initial assessment and the start of the program, and during the 12-week direct intervention (75% made clinically meaningful change). Significant growth in expressive vocabulary and consonant inventory occurred during direct intervention. Correlations between change on impairment- and participation-based measures were not significant. The Target Word program appears to improve communicative function for late-to-talk preschoolers. Children also made gains in communicative participation skills, expressive vocabulary, and consonant inventory during the program, but further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of Target Word in these areas.

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