Effects of Parent-Infant Interaction on Speech Development 

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The topic to be investigated is whether or not parent-infant interaction affects speech development. Research on this topic is critical to the prevention of speech disorders in children. It brings awareness of how effective parent interactions help the speech learning process as well as supporting or opposing the separation or complete lack of parents. There should be more focus placed on increasing the quality of these interactions as even if the parents want to help, the interactions used might be the improper ones. Generally, parents know to slow down the rate of speech, use smaller words, repetitiveness, and imitations to increase their offsprings’ speech (Girolametto et al., 1996). Children benefit greatly from proper and early intervention that will not only impact their speech, but their social skills, self-esteem, and parental relationships as well (Tempel et. al, 2009). However, extra information is needed to know to what degree to do these interactions to and to learn other techniques that can help children more.

Megan Roberts and Ann Kaiser (2011) talk about four aspects of the interaction between the parent and child that are associated with this speech growth. They emphasize “(a) [the] amount of parent–child interaction, (b) responsiveness to child communication, (c) amount and

quality of linguistic input, and (d) use of language learning support strategies.” A study conducted by Alston and St. James-Roberts in 2005, claims that out of 60 infants, the ones that showed signs of speech difficulties spent half as much time interacting with their mothers than those who didn’t show the signs. The responsiveness side of it showed that children with slower responses or fewer responses are linked to language impairments, that the “The diversity of words that parents use is associated with the size of children’s expressive vocabulary,” and that naturally, children with already formed disabilities in growth developments, will alter the way in which the children learn (Roberts & Kaiser, 2011).

A lot of studies such as the ones notably explained in Hendricks’ (2009) and Hammer’s et. Al (2000) articles are limited to those specific disabilities explained. Other studies focus only on specific locations (such as Safwat and Sheikhany’s experiment in 2014), specific ages, and different aspects of developmental speech. Such limitations range amongst the different studies that this experiment will be based on but this study will attempt to eliminate them by including children with no type of disability and picking children randomly from various places.

This experiment expects there to be a delay in speech development on infants that either lack one or more parents or don’t have the support needed for it to develop correctly and at the proper time.


This study will include 300 children and their parents. With the children ranging in the ages 6 months to 60 months. The children will be then divided into the groups in which they belong to. One of them being an offspring living with both parents (1), the second; consists of offsprings with a single parent (whether it be the mother or father) (2) and lastly, children with neither parent, that are living in foster care or that don’t have someone specifically assigned to care for them (3). For this study, children who are living under the care of a foster parent(s) are qualified for either group 1 or 2.

In other words, a child living with both foster parents fit into group one and a child living with only one foster parent qualifies for group two as well. Group three is for children who don’t have a specific guardian, in other words, who have a group of people caring for a group of kids such as an orphanage, or who lack the care and presence of a parent, whether it be biological or not. Participants must first qualify to be in the study. 100 participants will be needed for each group and 50 of each group will be introduced to changes in their parenting ways while the others will be left as they came.


Parents will be first given two questionnaires. One of them consisting of the parent’s background and their beliefs. They will fill out biographical information followed by ordinal scaled formulated questions allowing them to choose which best fits their ways of parenting from “Almost Always/Always” to “Almost never/Never.” The questions will consist of statements involving parenting choices such as spanking or timeouts all the way to activities they allow their kids to pursue.

The second questionnaire will include questions on where they think their child’s speech is at, as well if they think there is something wrong with their child’s ability to communicate effectively and checking off a list of qualities that kids with certain speech disabilities will have, along with descriptive scenarios and how they would react to such events. For group three, children will be observed in their natural settings to see how they are treated and then the researcher will fill out the questionnaire for them. These questionnaires are given in hopes of determining where the child stands in their speech development and what methods are being used to enforce this.

Following consent from the parents, the child will then be tested on responsiveness and ability to communicate effectively. In which a form of change will then be implemented on half of the participants while the others continue to live their lives as they were before entering the experiment. This change might include parents simply going to classes or watching assigned videos to learn about better parenting skills, allowing their children to go to one-on-one therapy with a specialist to help with any speech disabilities, or receiving any way of improving actions taken towards the language development. An example of this will be using Hendricks’ Parent-Implementation Intervention (2009) or the Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) which allows parents to act like their kid’s therapist (Tempel et al, 2009).

At the end of the interventions, there will be a posttest measuring the effect of these interventions and if they were better or worse than those scores of the children who had no changes in their learning.


If the hypothesis is supported as a result of this experiment, we can say that there is a connection between a parental figure or the lack thereof (and effective parental skills) and the speech development of children ranging from 6 months to 60 months. This is consistent with multiple studies concerning this language development in kids. Things such as PCIT and or simply spending more time trying to communicate with children are shown to increase the pace and accuracy in which they speak and understand others.

The questionnaires show that the majority of parents did not know how to implement effective ways of communicating and or teaching their kids. This does not only mean neglecting their kids to a degree but also not challenging kids enough. This is what happens when parents of kids with some sort of delay kind of “dumb” down the speech growth by not communicating enough since they don’t get as much response as they would with a kid that doesn’t have a speech impediment but “Tannock and Girlametto (1992) suggest that there is an ‘idiosyncratic feedback cycle’ in which the toddler’s language delay influences the parents and vice versa” (Vigil et. al, 2005). Children who have a language delay will receive less feedback from their mother because they seem to be less responsive.

While there are multiple studies supporting that there is an interaction between the way children with disabilities are taught versus those without language delays, there are still other experiments suggesting that there is no correlation. If the hypothesis is not supported, it would imply just that. There would be no connection between the ways of teaching of parents or the lack of parents, and the growth of speech in children. Because of this, no further research is needed to see what different type of therapies or methods are best suited for any of the groups and there will also make no difference whether the kid grew up with both parents, one parent, or none.

Future research might focus on the specific type of disabilities in order to enforce certain ways to those specific disadvantages instead of focusing on all kids as a whole since there is a tremendous difference and the results of this study can only be generalized to an extent.


Cite this paper

Effects of Parent-Infant Interaction on Speech Development . (2021, Jul 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/effects-of-parent-infant-interaction-on-speech-development/



How important is parental input on infants language learning?
Parental input is important for infants' language learning because it provides them with the necessary input to acquire language. Without parental input, infants would not be able to learn language.
What effect do you think parental interactions have on a child's language development?
The quality and quantity of parental interaction is thought to have a strong effect on a child's language development.
What role do parents play in language development?
Parents play a very important role in language development. They provide the child with a language model to imitate and they also support the child's language development by providing opportunities for the child to practice using language.
Why is it important for infants to be exposed to speech?
Parental involvement plays a significant role in literacy development. It has been shown to improve reading skills, promote a love of reading, and increase positive attitudes towards reading.
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