Parents Have an Impact on Children with Language Difficulties

Aug 15, 2023

There are many children who experience language delays, speech sound disorders, and language difficulties within their development. Traditionally these children see a speech pathologist who will complete face to face therapy to develop the child’s speech and language skills. Some parents sit in the room to observe, some parents aren’t involved in the sessions. These session however, are often paired with the speech pathologist providing some tips for home practise.

With families busy schedules, long wait times for therapy, and costly expenses for long term therapy, this format can be challenging. As a parent you know your child better than anyone and you spend the most time with them. That is why parent education and up-skilling is a beneficial focus for language intervention with young children. Parents can then implement evidence based strategies throughout their routines every day, potentially having huge impacts on their child’s communication development.

By focusing on parent education and building their skills, children acquire language in naturalistic and fun ways. The strategies parents implement as exactly what a qualified speech pathologist would implement, therefore you can rest assured they are evidence based.

There has been research conducted to determine if parents can be as effective at improving children’s language skills as speech pathologists are. From this research, we know that parents ABSOLUTELY CAN BE!

Some children even developed MORE when their parent delivered the intervention compared to the speech pathologist. Lets explore some more benefits found:

  • Parent’s who use naturalistic settings when modelling communication for their child, found their child’s language skills to improve.

This means when parents are targeting language development during routines and everyday activities, they see improvements in their child’s speech and language. (2)

  • Parent’s can experience reduced stress from home therapy

Benefits from parent lead intervention has been seen through late talkers increased language skills (expressive and receptive) and parents reporting they were less stressed after knowing how to help their child. (3)

  • Parent can be equally or more effective compared to a speech pathologist

When parents become aware of evidence based strategies to implement at home, their child’s language skills can improve and often see an increase their child’s overall communication.

Results from studies have shown the same outcomes when comparing speech pathologist or parent implemented language intervention. Interestingly, parent lead intervention had better outcomes for developing children’s comprehension and grammar. (1)

  • Parent’s have a wide variety of activities they can use to develop communication

Research has found that through sharing books with your child and using language strategies during play and everyday routines, children can develop their language skills. When parents implement strategies used by speech pathologists at home, children can see increases in their vocabulary (5).

Well, the research has shown that YOU as a parent, can be just as effective, if not more effective, as a speech pathologist when developing language skills. If you are ever concerned about your child’s speech or language, be sure to reach out to a speech pathologist. You can directly contact us here and a certified speech pathologist will answer your question directly.


  1. Roberts, M., & Kaiser, A. (2011). The Effectiveness of Parent-Implemented Language Intervention: A Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20, 180–199.
  2. Rakap, S. & Rakap, S. (2014). Parent-implemented naturalistic language interventions for young children with disabilities: A systematic review of single-subject experimental designs. Educational Research Review, 13, 35-51.
  3. DeVeney, S. L., Hagaman, J. L. & Bjornsen, A. L. (2017). Parent implemented versus clinician-directed interventions for late-talking toddlers: A systematic review of the literature. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 1–10.
  4. Roberts, M. Y., Curtis, P. R., Sone, B. J., Hampton, L. H. (2019). Association of Parent Training With Child Language Development A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatrics, 173(7):671-680. doi:10.1001/JAMA pediatrics.2019.1197
  5. Heidlage, J. K., Cunningham, J. E., Kaiser, A. P., Trivette, C. M., Barton, E. E., Frey, J. R., Roberts, M. Y. (2020). The effects of parent-implemented language interventions on child linguistic outcomes: A meta-analysis. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 50(1), 6-23.

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