Examination of maternal language strategies during book sharing with infants and toddlers from low income and rural environments Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Abraham, Linzy
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Allied Health Sciences, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
  • Research indicates that maternal language plays a crucial role in children's communication development, however, less is known about the relationships between maternal language use and children's early communication abilities within families from low income and rural environments. In order to better understand these relationships the current study examined the structure and content of mothers' language use when children were 6 months of age and again when the children were 15 months of age, within a sample of 82 mothers and their children who were living in low income, rural environments. Maternal language use was documented during book sharing interactions within the home at each time point, and information regarding children's communication abilities was obtained at the 15 month time point. The main aims of the investigation were to identify whether differences occurred in maternal language use across the two time points and to analyze the potential relationships between mothers' language use and children's early communication abilities. Among mother-child dyads there was a great deal of variability in maternal language use and in the duration of book sharing interactions within time points. In addition, significant differences in both the structure and content of mothers' language were evident between the 6 and 15 month time points. Analyses also identified a significant predictive relationship between mothers' rate of use of specific language strategies and children's symbolic communication abilities. These findings emphasize the potential importance of mothers' use of language strategies that provide greater elaborated or abstract content. The results highlight the heterogeneity in the sample and demonstrate the utility of obtaining various measures of maternal language to more fully describe their interactions with their children, as only certain aspects of maternal language use were significant predictors of children's communication outcomes. Further, the current investigation reveals the value in examining children's early communication development within families who live in low income, rural environments.
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  • In Copyright
  • Crais, Elizabeth
  • Open access

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