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Citation:Levenstein, P., Levenstein S., Shiminski J.A., & Stolzberg J.E. (1998). Long-term impact of a verbal interaction program for at-risk toddlers: an exploratory study of high school outcomes in a replication of the Mother-Child Home Program. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 19(2), 267-285.

The purpose of this study is to look at long-term effects of the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP, an authentic replication of the Mother-Child Home Program). The program is a literacy based intervention for at risk toddlers. It is a home-based parent-toddler intervention that is meant to increase childrenÕs cognitive growth by motivating the mothers/caregivers to integrate verbal interaction into toddlersÕ early home experiences. PCHP personnel demonstrate positive verbal interaction, with the goal that the parent will adopt these strategies and continue to use them independent of the program. A major aim of home-based interventions is to improve at-risk childrenÕs chances of graduating from high school. Overall, it appears that the program has lasting effects since participants met or exceeded national achievement norms throughout school and generally outperformed the groups to which they were compared (it appears the greatest educational advantage was for the lowest IQ toddlers). Children who participated in the program as toddlers were significantly less likely than randomized controls to drop out of school and more likely to graduate, even when controlling for baseline IQ scores. Even incomplete participation seemed to improve chances of graduation. The dropout rate of the at-risk program participants matched the national rate for middle-income students. The high school graduation rate of participants was comparable to that of middle class students and exceeded those of the local and national disadvantaged comparison groups. Findings suggest that long-term improvement in academic performance may be achieved by using the PCHP approach. The sample consisted of 123 young adults, who at age two were recruited for PCHP and were deemed eligible for the program. Subjects were students who 1) had completed the full two year PCHP; 2) had enrolled but participated for less than two years and 3) had been deemed eligible, but who had been randomly assigned to non-program status (comparison group). Data on these students were collected from program and school district records. The interpretation of these results is limited by the small number of control subjects and by the fact that some differences did not reach statistical significance.

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