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Training Parents As Milieu Language Teachers

CATHY L. ALPERT, ANN P. KAISER

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Six mothers of preschoolers with language impairments were taught individually to use four milieu language training procedures: model, mand-model, time delay, and incidental teaching. A multiple-baseline design across pairs of mother-child dyads and within each dyad across milieu techniques was used to evaluate the effects of training. All mothers learned the milieu procedures and applied them during home observation sessions. Mothers' use of the procedures generalized to two non-training situations and they showed acceptable levels of maintenance across three monthly maintenance probes. Comparison of child behaviors at baseline and maintenance showed improvements in two areas for the majority of child subjects: (a) Average monthly gains in mean length of utterance exceeded or were approximately equal to the increase predicted for normally developing children (Miller & Chapman, 1981), and (b) the number of total words produced and number of novel words produced more than doubled. In addition, an increase in frequency of requests was observed for four of the children when the incidental teaching procedure was trained. The findings suggest that mothers can be taught to correctly apply milieu language teaching procedures and that use of the procedures is associated with positive effects on various aspects of child language.