3 years ago

When Cultural Norms Discourage Talking to Babies: Effectiveness of a Parenting Program in Rural Senegal

Anne Fernald, Yatma Diop, Ann Weber
In some areas of rural Africa, long-standing cultural traditions and beliefs may discourage parents from verbally engaging with their young children. This study assessed the effectiveness of a parenting program designed to encourage verbal engagement between caregivers and infants in Wolof-speaking villages in rural Senegal. Caregivers (n = 443) and their 4- to 31-month-old children were observed at baseline in 2013 and 1 year later at follow-up. Results showed that caregivers in program villages nearly doubled the amount of child-directed speech during a play session compared to baseline, whereas caregivers in matched comparison villages showed no change. After 1 year, children in program villages produced more utterances, and showed greater improvement in vocabulary and other language outcomes compared to children in comparison villages.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12882

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