Language interventions taught to caregivers in homes and classrooms: A review of intervention and implementation fidelity

Abstract The Bridging the Word Gap Research Network conducted a review of literature to identify effective interventions to facilitate the communication development of young children in hopes of identifying ways to reduce the well-documented word gap among children associated with socio-economic class. As part of this effort, we focused on the ways in which caregivers (teachers, parents, and others) were taught to implement evidence-based practices for facilitating language learning and use. Our goal was to characterize (a) the implementation fidelity, to describe the teaching functions and implementation procedures for teaching those language intervention strategies and (b) the intervention fidelity with which caregivers used strategies for facilitating their children’s language development. Because training procedures are not well described in the implementation and professional development literature, a new framework was developed and its feasibility was assessed in an attempt to characterize the teaching functions and specific implementation procedures used across studies. Among the 270 intervention studies reviewed, there were 124 in which caregivers were taught to implement language intervention strategies. Teaching functions included a variety of implementation procedures, with 95% of studies sharing information, 80% incorporating modeling, 65% providing feedback, and only 18% using prompting/guiding/scaffolding. Seventy-two of these studies (58%) reported intervention fidelity, with an increasing proportion reporting fidelity in recent years. Of these 72 studies, 81% were rated as having a ‘moderate to strong’ description of fidelity measures, and 50% reported high levels of intervention fidelity (i.e., >70% fidelity). These analyses demonstrate the need for reporting more detailed and precise information on intervention fidelity and the teaching functions and procedures used to teach caregivers to implement language interventions.
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