Exploring the experiences of parents with children who have communication delays, as a population at risk for the development of behavioural concerns
Vogin, Kaarina M.
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Existing research identifies preschoolers with communication delays as a population at risk for the development of behavioural concerns. This risk increases when additional environmental factors such as parental stress and family conflict are also present. Research has also shown that behavioural concerns can be stable over time when they develop early. However, early intervention has been shown to be effective in addressing these concerns. The effectiveness of early intervention in addressing both child and family outcomes increases when interventions are delivered in a family-centred approach. This research project made use of data related to child behaviour and parenting, gathered through the Family Resource Project which explored the parenting experiences and resource access and allocation decisions of families who have preschool children with and without communication delays. Cluster analysis was used to explore whether there were identifiable clusters of children and families within each sample. Interview data fi"om each identified family cluster was then explored further, to identify how parents described their child's behaviour and their experience of parenting. Results show that, within this sample, parents of preschoolers with communication delays described their child's behaviour and their experience of parenting differently than did parents of children without communication delays. Results also showed that within this sample parents experiencing parental stress and/or family conflict described their child's behaviour and their experience of parenting differently than did parents from other clusters. Results suggest support for early intervention and the use of family-centred intervention, particularly for families of children with communication delays.