Supporting caregivers in developing responsive communication partnerships with their children: extending a caregiver-led interactive language program

Kathy Cologon*, Lilly Wicks, Aliza Salvador

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    This study investigates whether extension of a caregiver-led interactive language program may enhance its effectiveness in supporting communication. Caregiver-led language programs, which focus on establishing responsive interaction patterns to support opportunities for communication between caregivers and young children within natural settings, are frequently used in early childhood intervention services. One example is the Hanen Program It Takes Two to Talk® (ITTT), which involves working in groups with caregivers, with some concurrent individualized support for families. Given the importance of communication, potential strategies to enhance the effectiveness of such programs warrant investigation. Based on a transactional theory of interaction, it can be hypothesized that by directly supporting communication partners to continuously adapt to each others' behaviours, individualized interventions may further enhance the outcomes of ITTT and, potentially, similar programs. In phase one of this study, 10 caregivers of young children with a range of disability labels completed the ITTT program. Participants were then randomly assigned to a control or experimental group for phase two. In the experimental group, the caregivers were provided with additional individual sessions with a Speech Language Therapist over the subsequent four months. Assessments of caregiver-child interactions were conducted prior to commencing the ITTT program, following the completion of phase one, and again at the completion of phase two. Significant positive changes were found at the completion of phase one for all participants. These findings support the effectiveness of the ITTT program. At the completion of phase two further significant positive changes were found for the experimental group. For the control group there was no further notable change. Although this is a small study, the findings have implications for practice in demonstrating that extending the individualized support provided within such programs may facilitate increased communication, with benefits for caregiver-child interactions and relationships and for child participation more broadly.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)157-169
    Number of pages13
    JournalChild Language Teaching and Therapy
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • caregiver responsiveness
    • child language
    • communication intervention
    • Hanen Parent Programs
    • interaction
    • parent-led language intervention


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