The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type




Degree Name

Child and Family Studies: Family Studies: M.S.


Child and Family Studies


School of Education

First Advisor

Frances Kayona

Second Advisor

Ana Welu

Third Advisor

Deborah Wheeler

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Speech Delay in Young Children, Intervention Strategies for Speech Delay, Language Development in Young Children, Parenting Challenges with Speech Delay, Caregivers Interactions with Service Providers, Early Identification of Speech Impairment


This study explored caregivers' perceptions of their experiences with early identification and support services for children exhibiting communication delays. The research emphasized the significance of early interventions recommended and the quality of interactions between caregivers and their service providers. The foundation of parent-child relationships is pivotal in a child's early developmental years, especially in language acquisition. However, challenges arise when children exhibit communication disabilities, with approximately (20%) of children learning to communicate later than their peers. Early intervention (EI) services, as outlined in the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004), offer crucial support to families of children with developmental delays or disabilities. These services, delivered by professionals, encompass therapies and strategies to aid children's development.

The survey results encompass diverse demographics. Most respondents identified as females (67.50%), aged between 36-45 years (38.75%), and hold a high school diploma (33.75%). Most were mothers (59.49%) of male children (51.90%) who first showed signs of speech delay between 13-24 months (33.75%). The study findings also highlighted that (60.76%) of caregivers in this study strongly agreed with using simple words as an intervention strategy when talking to their children to improve their child's speech ability. Emphasizing the effectiveness of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) in enhancing language skills. Furthermore, most respondents (90%) reported an enhancement in their child's communication abilities post-receiving services from early education service providers. Over (85%) of participants noticed communication difficulties with their children before engaging service providers. Additionally, over half (56.96%) of study respondents felt that the training and coaching received from their service providers positively impacted their parenting roles.

Key findings highlighted the effectiveness of daily conversations, digital and visual aids, and the importance of patience and confidence in enhancing a child's language skills. However, challenges like the scarcity of service providers, scheduling conflicts, and high costs were noted. Over (60%) of participants described their interactions with service providers as positive, professional, and supportive.

In conclusion, while caregivers acknowledged the benefits and support received from service providers, they also highlighted the need for more accessibility to support services. This study underscores the importance of understanding caregivers' experiences to enhance the effectiveness of early intervention strategies and support services.


First and foremost, I give all glory to God for His divine preservation, guidance, and the blessing of life. By His grace, I have been able to accomplish this milestone. To Him be all the glory, honor, and praise.

Second, I am profoundly grateful to my academic advisor and thesis committee chair, Dr. Frances Kayona. Your dedication, guidance, and the countless hours you invested in supporting me throughout this process have been instrumental in completing this study. Your expertise, patience, and unwavering belief in my capabilities have been a beacon of light on this academic journey. To my esteemed thesis committee members, Dr. Deborah Wheeler and Dr. Ana Welu, I sincerely appreciate your invaluable insights, guidance, and support. Your willingness to serve on my committee and your expertise have enriched this work in ways I could not have imagined. I am very honored and grateful to have you all on my committee.

Third, I acknowledged the assistance of Dr. Scott Baker for his helpful advice and assistance, which made it easier for me to develop my thesis by giving me the framework, explanations, and understanding I needed. You made the complicated process of writing this project easier, and you kept me going when I doubted my writing skills. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for the invaluable support you have provided. I would like to convey my utmost gratitude to Lampe Omoleye, Chris Adetayo, and Nnamdi Uzokwe for their unwavering support and invaluable assistance towards the advancement of my graduate studies.

Fourth, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my husband, the love of my life, Ofem. Your unwavering support, patience, and understanding throughout this journey have been the bedrock upon which I built my determination and resilience. Your encouragement during the challenging times and your pride in my accomplishments have been my driving force. To my children, Joshua, Jason, and Jayden, your assistance, patience, and understanding have been invaluable. Your constant acts of love and encouragement have been a source of strength and Joy.

Fifth, I acknowledge the love and support of my parents, Chief Emeka and Lolo Nkechinyere Kanu. Your faith in my abilities, constant encouragement, and never-ending love have been the pillars that have upheld me throughout my life, especially during this study period. To my dear sisters, Chichi and Nkeiru, your prayers, love, and unwavering belief in me have been a source of comfort and strength. Your support, both seen and unseen, has been a blessing. I am also indebted to my good friend Emem Asan, who provided me with emotional support, encouragement, and believed in me.

Finally, I thank all the participants in this study for their cooperation, without which this work would not be possible. My special thanks go to the school Vice President, Ms. DeeAnn Besch for permitting me to collect data from caregivers of young children. I am also grateful for the support of the satellite school Director, Ms. Lisa Ward, who helped me to conduct this study successfully.