Improving Hispanic children’s early language environments through nurse home visiting

Funding Source: Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative - Home Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) UD5MC30792
Principal Investigator: Darcy-Mahoney & Baralt (Co-PIs)

The major goal of this project is to integrate an educational mobile phone app into the home visiting curriculum.

We propose to implement into the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), the evidence-based phone app Háblame Bebé (Talk To Me Baby) through a randomized, controlled trial with 50 mother-child dyads in southern Florida. Háblame Bebé has been demonstrated to improve parent-child language interactions and to increase Hispanic sociolinguistic pride (i.e., feelings of pride towards being Hispanic and using Spanish), but has not been tested for use in home visiting programs.

We hypothesize that layering this innovative Spanish-language parent education intervention into NFP standards of care will:

  • increase Spanish-speaking caregivers’ knowledge of language development and the importance of promoting bilingual language development
  • increase mothers’ pride in using the home language in interactions with their young child
  • promote frequent, high-quality language interactions between primary caregivers and their children in the home language (i.e., Spanish)

The underlying caregiver outcomes associated with the Háblame Bebé intervention should lead to overall improvements in early language environments of Hispanic children from low-income backgrounds and improved child development (one of the primary goals of NFP). Long-term benefits of the intervention may even support improved school readiness and later academic achievement (see significance).

There is a striking absence of accessible, culturally acceptable, and evidence-based interventions that teach about the role of bilingual language development for low-income Hispanic families. Many care-providers in Miami-Dade and Broward counties lack the knowledge base and tools to best support culturally and linguistically diverse families (with varying degrees of English language proficiency, acculturation, and immigration status) in home visitation. The Háblame Bebé app is designed to provide critical information for new Hispanic mothers from low-income backgrounds in supporting their child’s language and literacy development. This study will test the efficacy of the intervention in changing parent behavior and associated child language skills, as well as gather information about the feasibility of implementing the intervention within the NFP program.