Parent and clinic early intervention for children with language handicaps: A cost-effectiveness analysis.

By Barnett, W. S., Escobar, C. M., & Ravsten, M. T. (1988).

This study investigated the economic efficiency of alternative types of intervention with language-impaired preschool children. Forty children were randomly assigned to one of four groups: (a) home-based (parent-delivered) intervention, (b) center-based intervention, (c) both center- and home-based intervention, and (d) no treatment. The home intervention program taught parents to incorporate therapy techniques into ordinary parent-child interactions in the home and to create a language-stimulating home environment. Center-based treatment emphasized language development in individual, small group, and large group settings. The combined intervention group received both the home- and center-based programs. Program effectiveness was measured with two language scales (PLS-R, APPS). Cost analysis encompassed all resources consumed by the program, including the time contributed by parents and students. The results indicated that the home-based program was more efficient. The center-based intervention was more expensive and less effective. Combining the two types of intervention increased costs without significantly increasing effectiveness. Although the study was limited in size and duration, it suggests that future research should investigate the potential of parent-delivered services to be effective, low-cost alternatives to center-based early intervention.