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Expectations and experiences of parents taking part in parent–child interaction programmes to promote child language: a qualitative interview study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Penny Levickis, Professor Cristina McKeanORCiD, Alexandra Wiles, Professor James LawORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Background: Parent-child interaction therapies are commonly used by speech and languagetherapists (SLTs) when providing services to young children with language learningdifficulties. But the way that parents react to the demands of such interventions is clearlyimportant, especially for those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Parents play a centralrole in the therapy process, so to ensure parent engagement and maximise interventioneffectiveness, parents’ views must be considered.Aim: To explore the expectations and experiences of parents from socially disadvantagedbackgrounds who had taken part in a parent-child interaction programme aimed at promotinglanguage development in 2-3 year olds with language difficulties.Methods & Procedures: The sample included parents who had a child aged 2-3 years and hadattended a parent-child interaction programme to promote their child’s language development.Parents were eligible to take part if they were living in the 30% most deprived areas in a cityin the North of England that constituted the study site. Ten parents participated in a qualitativesemi-structured face-to-face interview in the home. Framework analysis was used to analysethe interview transcripts.Outcomes & Results: Parents’ expectations prior to taking part in parent-child interactioninterventions contribute to how they may engage throughout the intervention process. Barriersinclude parents’ uncertainty about the nature of the intervention and differing attitudesregarding intervention approaches and strategies. Facilitators during the intervention processinclude gaining support from other parents, reassurance from the SLT regarding their child’slanguage development and their own ability to support their child’s language learning, as wellas increased confidence in how they support their child’s development.Conclusions & Implications: Parents respond very differently to parent-child interactionintervention for children with language difficulties, depending on their expectations and attitudes towards intervention. Thus, it is critical that these different perspectives areunderstood by practitioners before intervention commences to ensure successful engagement.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Levickis P, McKean C, Wiles A, Law J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders

Year: 2020

Volume: 55

Issue: 4

Pages: 603-617

Print publication date: 01/07/2020

Online publication date: 11/06/2020

Acceptance date: 12/05/2020

Date deposited: 22/05/2020

ISSN (print): 1368-2822

ISSN (electronic): 1460-6984

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/1460-6984.12543


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Funder referenceFunder name
705044European Commission