Communication Sciences and Disorders Publications


Effectiveness of a parent-implemented language intervention for late-to-talk children: a real-world retrospective clinical chart review

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International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology





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© 2019, © 2019 The Speech Pathology Association of Australia Limited Published by Taylor & Francis. Purpose: This study aimed to: (1) evaluate the effectiveness of Target WordTM–The Hanen Program® for Parents of Children Who are Late Talkers for improving the real-world communicative participation skills of children who are late-to-talk, and (2) explore predictors of change in children’s communicative participation skills. Method: We conducted a retrospective clinical chart review for 76 families who participated in the Target Word programme at a publicly-funded clinic. Families completed the Focus on the Outcomes of Communication Under Six (FOCUS) at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and after a 3-month consolidation period and scores were compared across the three assessment points. Regression analysis was then used to explore the relation between changes in children’s communicative participation skills and potential predictors of change identified by 25 Target Word certified speech-language pathologists. Result: At the end of intervention, 75% of children had made a clinically significant change in communicative participation skills. Clinicians proposed verbal imitation, language development stagnation and parent interaction style as the top predictors of change in communicative participation skills. Of these, only verbal imitation at pre-intervention predicted change in communicative participation following the intervention. Conclusion: The Target Word programme can facilitate the development of communicative participation skills in late-to-talk children. Modifications to the intervention may be needed in order to maximise outcomes for children with limited verbal imitation.

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