The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Communication Sciences and Disorders: M.S.


Communication Sciences and Disorders


School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Dr. Sarah Smits-Bandstra

Second Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Crowell

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy Knopf

Keywords and Subject Headings

Baby Sign, Language Development, At-Risk, Low Socioeconomic Background, Multi-Cultural, Linguistically Diverse


The purpose of this case study was to examine the effect of exposure to symbolic gestures or “Baby Sign” on the development of joint attention, receptive and expressive language of children from low socioeconomic backgrounds, including culturally/linguistically diverse children aged 9 to 20 months. Two child-parent dyads participated in the program. Both were enrolled in the local “Head Start” (Reach-Up) program. The MacArthur Bates, Preschool Language Scales-4 (PLS-4) and video-recorded interactions with the primary caregiver were used to assess the effectiveness of Baby Sign parent-training to facilitate early language development. Results of the Preschool Language Scales-4 and the MacArthur Bates identified improved both receptive and expressive language in “at risk” (low socioeconomic and culturally diverse backgrounds) infants exposed to Baby Sign. In addition, qualitative data collected by parent interview revealed significant barriers to service delivery for early language facilitation, particularly for culturally/linguistically diverse children from low socioeconomic backgrounds.