News and Events

News and Events

New Publication from the EIRG: Early Language Therapy Can Help Reduce Problem Behaviors

Here at the Early Intervention Research Group, we were interested to see whether improving children’s language abilities might also improve their behavior.

All toddlers can behave in ways that are difficult for adults to manage. Sometimes they aggressively act out, are overactive, or are exceptionally shy. Research has shown that this is especially true for children who are behind in their language skills. This may result from having trouble communicating their wants and needs, or from being unable to express their emotions using words.

We worked with a large group of families of children with language delays. With half of the families, we taught parents language facilitation strategies, such as responding to their children’s communication and modeling more complex language. The other half of the families did not learn these strategies.

At the end of the study, we found that children whose parents had been taught to use these language strategies had fewer behavior problems than the children whose parents had not been taught these strategies. Furthermore, we found that children who were the most talkative had the fewest behavior problems. Parents’ use of language support strategies improved their children’s language skills, which led to fewer behavior problems.

These findings demonstrate how parents can play an important role in improving their children’s language abilities and reducing their children’s difficult behaviors. Best of all, the two skills are linked! By working on language skills parents may also see improvements in their children’s behavior.

To read the full article, click here.