This study attempted to maximize environmental language learning for four hearing-impaired children. The children's mothers were systematically trained to present specific language symbols to their children at home. An increase in meaningful use of these words was observed during therapy sessions. In addition, as the mothers began to generalize the language exposure strategies, an increase was observed in the children's use of words not specifically identified by the clinician as targets.
This article describes the iterative development of a home review program designed to augment vocabulary instruction for young children (ages 4 and 5 years) occurring at school through the use of a home review component.
A pilot study followed by two experiments used adapted alternating treatment designs to compare the learning of academic words taught at school to words taught at school and reviewed at home. At school, children in small groups were taught academic words embedded in prerecorded storybooks for 6 weeks. Children were given materials such as stickers with review prompts (e.g., “Tell me what
means”) to take home for half the words. Across iterations of the home intervention, the home review component was enhanced by promoting parent engagement and buy-in through in-person training, video modeling, and daily text message reminders. Visual analyses of single-subject graphs, multilevel modeling, and social validity measures were used to evaluate the additive effects and feasibility of the home review component.
Social validity results informed each iteration of the home program. The effects of the home program across sites were mixed, with only one site showing consistently strong effects. Superior learning was evident in the school + home review condition for families that reviewed words frequently at home. Although the home review program was effective in improving the vocabulary skills of many children, some families had considerable difficulty practicing vocabulary words.
These studies highlight the importance of using social validity measures to inform iterative development of home interventions that promote feasible strategies for enhancing the home language environment. Further research is needed to identify strategies that stimulate facilitators and overcome barriers to implementation, especially in high-stress homes, to enrich the home language environments of more families.