Thesis

Building literacy experiences within families of children who have disabilities

This thesis examines the role that the development of language plays through the application of literacy skills. Research shows that the developmental aspects of literacy can be useful to families when soliciting language through the use of storybook practices such as dialogic reading. Young children with disabilities can particularly benefit from using reading to promote language and the family can play an important role in literacy and language development. The study followed a three year old child with significant speech and language impairment through a two year intervention process that connected the researcher's classroom work with the child and work with his family using the dialogic reading process to elicit language growth. After the family had identified the need for increased literacy through a parent survey and discussion, the family was trained in the dialogic reading process through home visits, modeling, training and anecdotal records. Development assessments such as the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP)/Access were used to measure the child's progress throughout the course of the intervention. At the end of the intervention, follow-up was done with the family and the findings demonstrated the child's progress in the area of literacy and language development. The implication of this study for early childhood special education programs is that collaboration and interconnection between early interventionists and the family and their culture and beliefs through communication, training and home visits can positively impact a child's progress within language and literacy.

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