University of Illinois at Chicago
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A Home-Based Language Intervention with Mexican Immigrant Mothers and Their Children

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posted on 2019-08-06, 00:00 authored by Giselle Nunez
A reality for a child’s academic future is that his or her language abilities are an essential component to academic success (Hammer et al., 2017). Children with language delays can present with academic difficulties as they begin their academic trajectories, but when identified early and provided with appropriate speech and language services, their needs can be met and many of their difficulties can be overcome. The same can be said for Latino children with language delays raised in Spanish-speaking home environments, as long as their unique language needs are met in a culturally appropriate manner. When providing speech and language services to this population, several factors should be considered, such as home language use and the family’s goals for their children. Besides considering a child’s academic needs, the parent-child relationship with the native language requires careful consideration when providing interventions (Durán, Hartzheim, Lund, Simonsmeier, & Kohlmeier, 2016). As a result, it is important to examine how to best meet the speech and language needs of the growing Latino population within the United States. The current investigation examines the changes in Mexican immigrant mothers’ language when a Spanish language-based intervention was provided in their homes. The study was designed to answer three research questions that focused on the changes of the quality and quantity of the mother’s language, the mother’s use of the taught language strategies, and the mother’s perceptions of the intervention. Three dyads, that consisted of Mexican immigrant mothers and their respective preschool-aged children, in a large urban Midwestern city participated in the study. The eight intervention sessions were focused on using home-based routines and materials to address language goals that the mothers identified at the start of the investigation. Throughout the intervention, the mothers were provided with specific language strategies with which to address the language needs of their children during play-based activity. Three case studies were developed one for each dyad based on interviews, observations, documentary analysis, and conversational analysis. In order to analyze the mothers’ use of language strategies, play-based assessments were completed at the start and end of the intervention. Throughout the language intervention sessions, language samples from the mothers were both video and audio recorded and analyzed to determine changes and use of the language-based strategies. The interviews provided an understanding of the language needs of each child and of the mothers’ perceptions and understanding of home-based language interventions. A cross-case analysis, or a comparison of each case, was also conducted to provide a deeper understanding of the mothers’ experiences with the intervention. Findings from the investigation indicated that the mothers demonstrated changes in their overall language behaviors from the initial to the final intervention session. Specific changes were seen in the ways the mothers interacted with their child, specifically in how they asked questions and used directive speech. In addition, the mothers demonstrated changes in their use of language strategies throughout the intervention. One change noted was how the mothers interacted with their child during play, and the second was how they reported feeling using the strategies. Based on the interviews with each mother of their perspective of the intervention, they provided examples of how they implemented the language strategies at home. In addition, four factors—collaboration, respect, role, and confidence—were important aspects of the mothers’ experiences. The findings from this study continue the research on ways to develop home-based language interventions that are culturally appropriate for this population.



Tejero Hughes, Marie


Tejero Hughes, Marie


Special Education

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Committee Member

Parker-Katz, Michelle Talbott, Elizabeth Rao, Arthi Magaña, Sandy

Submitted date

May 2019

Issue date


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