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Application:Language Development Face-to-Face

Part 4: Interview on Developmental Leaps and Lags in Language Learning

This week, you will interview an early childhood teacher or a speech pathologist on the topic of language development, including examples of children whose language development is outside the normal range; or you will interview the parent of a child with atypical language development. The goal is to expand your understanding of developmental differences in language development or atypical language development, and the impact on children and families you may potentially work with in the future.

(If you need help locating a speech pathologist, check the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association “Find a Professional: Online Directory of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Programs” at http://www.asha.org/proserv/ and enter your zip code.)

To complete the assignment:

Plan: Choose a person to interview – an early childhood teacher, speech pathologist, or parent of a young child with a speech or language delay or disorder. Explain that the purpose of the interview is for your own educational development, and obtain permission to tape-record the conversation. Here are tips for planning the interview:

  • Agree on a specific date and time. (Plan for 30 minutes.)
  • Use a tape recorder, as you did for the observations in Weeks 2 and 3. Test your recorder before the interview to be sure it works.
  • Review this week’s readings, particularly the “Speech and Language Impairments” fact sheet, to help prepare for the interview.
  • If you are interviewing an early childhood teacher, also read and review the following article for background: “What Early Childhood Teachers Need to Know About Language”
  • If you are interviewing a speech pathologist, also read and review the following article for background: “Speech-Language Therapy”
  • If you are interviewing a parent, also read and review the following article for background: “Delayed Speech or Language Development”
  • Click on the link below to download, print out, and review the document you will use to record your interview, which includes sample questions to ask:

Part 4: Developmental Leaps and Lags Interview Guide

  • Review the appropriate questions in advance. You may want to ask the introductory questions when you are setting up the interview, to get a sense of the person and his or her experience before the interview.
  • Think about other questions that are not on the list that you would like to ask.
  • Take notes during the interview on key points you want to remember.
  • Be respectful of your subject’s experiences and points of view.
  • Remember to thank your interview subject for his or her time.

Interview: Ask questions from the Interview Guide. Listen carefully to the person’s answers. You may need to ask for an example to clarify a point, or follow up with a “why” or “how” question. Although you will record the conversation, also take notes on the person’s answers. Some additional guidelines:

  • Keep your attention focused on the interviewee.
  • Remember that this is one person’s experience and perspective. Although it can be informative and instructive, keep that uniqueness in mind as you listen to and later reflect on the interview.
  • Be respectful of the person’s time. Stick to the time period you agreed to for the interview. Be sure to thank the person for his or her cooperation.
  • Remember that this interview experience is intended as a chance for you to learn.

Reflect on the interview. Review your notes and listen to the tape recording of the interview as necessary to complete the following:

  • Write one or more pages summarizing the interview. Describe the background of the person you interviewed and his or her experiences as an educator working with young children, as a speech pathologist, or as a parent of a young child with a speech delay or communication disorder.
  • Share insights you gained from the interview. In particular, summarize new knowledge, identify any assumptions you held before the interview that were dispelled, and discuss information you learned that surprised you, and explain why. Compare what you learned in this interview with what you have been learning in the course. And finally, describe anything that was raised in the interview that you would like to learn more about, and why.

Note: Do not use the real names of the interviewee or the children or families discussed in the interview. Use only first names, initials, or fictitious names to protect their privacy.

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