This Cochrane Intervention Review assessed the effectiveness of parent-mediated communication interventions, compared to no intervention, treatment as usual or clinician-mediated interventions, for improving the communication skills of preschool children up to five years of age who have non-progressive motor disorders.
The review includes two randomised controlled trials, one of which was conducted in Canada and the other in South Korea. A total of 38 children (20 boys, 18 girls) aged 15 to 96 months, and their mothers, took part. All children had developmental disabilities, 10 of whom had motor disorders though it was unclear if these affected their communication. The mothers attended 8 group training sessions over 11 to 12 weeks and received 2 to 3 home visits.
The review authors found no evidence of an effect for parent training on children's initition of conversation, engagement in joint attention during interaction with their mothers, or maternal stress. While there was evidence that mothers became mmore responsive to their children's communication following training, there was no difference in the extent to which they controlled the conversation. There were no reports on the effects of parent training on children's use of individual communication skills; on mothers' satisfaction with treatment, its acceptability or compliance with it; and missing data precluded analysis of the effects of training on children's frequency of communication and spoken language in conversation, speech production, or receptive or expressive language development.
The review authors concluded that there is "limited, very low quality evidence that parent-mediated communication interventions may be associated with improvements in interaction between mothers and their preschool children who have motor disorders".
Read the full review here.