THE EFFECTS OF TRAINING ON MATERNAL EXPECTANCY AND LANGUAGE USE
WEISTUCH, LUCILLE PEARL
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This study examined the language styles of mothers of handicapped and non-handicapped children matched for mean-length-of-utterance 1.0-1.5. Examination focused on: (a) whether the two groups of mothers differed in their language styles; (b) whether stylistic differences were related to child competency and/or maternal expectancy differences; (c) whether language workshops affected mother/child verbal interactions and, if so, whether they affected the interactions differently for mothers of handicapped and non-handicapped children; (d) whether language workshops affected child language growth; and (e) whether language workshops affected maternal expectancy.;The data were collected on mothers of handicapped and non-handicapped children and their children matched for MLU 1.0-1.5. Dyads were videotaped twice--three months apart--and language was coded in accordance with an early dialogue code developed by the investigator. At each taping session, mothers also filled out two expectancy questionnaires from which the expectancy data were generated.;Results of the study indicated that mothers of handicapped and non-handicapped children exhibited different language teaching styles; mothers of children with Down's Syndrome were found to be more directive and were found to not give their children as much semantic and topic-maintaining information. This stylistic difference appeared to be related to differences in child responsiveness--not maternal expectancy.;Post-test data indicated that there was a weak intervention effect across both groups of mothers. Mothers of children who received intervention used a higher rate of expansions, extensions, and contextual references than mothers who did not.;These changes in maternal speech were found to have some effects on child language behavior. Both non-handicapped and handicapped intervention children increased their answering abilities relative to control subjects and non-handicapped children additionally increased their MLU.;Intervention was also found to affect the relationship between expectancy and language use changes. For mothers who received intervention, language and expectancy changes more often correlated.;It was concluded that mothers of handicapped children might benefit from a language program of this type but that additional data needs to be collected on a larger sample and for a longer time before definitive statements can be made.