Early Intervention and Linguistically-Diverse Families

June 12, 2013

BLOG pic (2)Early Intervention, or the process of providing services, education, and support to young children and their families who have been identified as having a developmental delay and/or disorder, was designed to enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities. Designing an early intervention program that is able to identify and meet a child’s individual needs can be challenging for a service provider, especially when providing services to linguistically diverse families. According to the research literature, service providers can do several things to ensure they are providing appropriate services to a linguistically-diverse group.

            Upon meeting a new client and their parents entering an Early Intervention Clinic, the service provider can ask themselves or the parent, “How does this parent’s background influence his or her perspectives about language learning and education for his/her child? What does this parent want for their child? What concerns does this parent have regarding their child, or the program?” By understanding that a unique culture is inherent in each family with which a service provider works with, they will be able to understand and respect how a family identifies itself.

            According to the research, providing parents and families with information regarding how children learn language and the benefits of bilingualism as well as the preservation of home language and culture, benefit the child’s language development. Parents and families also benefit from learning ways to enhance their child’s language and literacy at home, as well as how to navigate the educational system.

            Families have strengths that can serve as the building blocks for effective service, and service providers should foster those strengths in the family and their community.

Sarah Peters, M.A., CCC-SLP

 From the President: Working Early-Intervention Magic in Community Settings, Patty Prelock

 Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in Early Intervention: Position Statement, ASHA


Early Literacy For Your Baby and Toddler

December 20, 2011

Children learn about language, reading, and writing when they are shown reading materials and share interactions with these materials with adults and older children.  Exposure to literacy materials does not mean teaching a child to read before they are ready.  Early literacy involves sharing books with children, describing the pictures, letting your child turn the pages and handle books.  The following is a list of suggestions for how you can share books with your young child (Suggestions taken from Zero to Three):

  • Make Sharing Books Part Of Every Day: Read or share stories at bedtime or on the bus.
  • Have Fun: Children can learn from you that books are fun, which is an important ingredient in learning to read.
  • A Few Minutes is OK- Don’t Worry if You Don’t Finish the Story: Young children can only sit for a few minutes for a story, but as they grow, they will be able to sit longer.
  • Talk or Sing About the Pictures: You do not have to read the words to tell a story.
  • Let Children Turn the Pages: Babies need board books and help turning pages, but a three-year-old can do it alone. Remember, it’s OK to skip pages!
  • Show Children the Cover Page: Explain what the story is about.
  • Show Children the Words: Run your finger along the words as you read them, from left to right.
  • Make the Story Come Alive: Create voices for the story characters and use your body to tell the story.
  • Make It Personal: Talk about your own family, pets, or community when you are reading about others in a story.
  • Ask Questions About the Story, and Let Children Ask Questions Too!: Use the story to engage in conversation and to talk about familiar activities and objects.
  • Let Children Tell the Story: Children as young as three years old can memorize a story, and many children love to be creative through storytelling

-Julie Manyak, CCC-SLP