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Mothers' and fathers' interactions with children with motor delays

by Eftichia Ganadaki, Joyce Magill-Evans
American Journal of Occupational Therapy ()
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OBJECTIVE. In early intervention programs, parents are often asked to teach their child new skills. As fathers are increasingly involved in intervention, clinicians need more information on fathers’ unique interac- tive style. This pilot study compared mothers’ and fathers’ parent–child interactions during a teaching episode to identify similarities and differences in order to better understand parents’ strengths. METHODS. The Nursing Child Assessment Teaching Scale was used to observe 10 mothers and 10 fathers interacting with their 10- to 28-month-old children in their homes. The children were receiving early inter- vention for a motor delay. The Caregiver Scores (parent’s contribution to the interaction) of mothers and oth- ers were compared using paired t tests. RESULTS. Mothers had more optimal interactions as indicated by significantly higher Caregiver scores than fathers, t (9) = 3.83, p = .004. The subscales with statistically significant differences were Caregiver Contingency and Cognitive Growth Fostering. Children’s scores when they interacted with their mothers or fathers did not differ. CONCLUSION. When observing fathers teaching their child new skills, therapists should remember that fathers of children with motor delays (and typically developing children) may use a more task-oriented com- munication style with less consideration of the child’s actions than do mothers

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