Thesis (Ph.D., Curriculum & Instruction) -- University of Idaho, December 2014 | The purpose of this study was to identify the perceived value family members and Idaho Infant Toddler Program coaches (ITP) place on emergent literacy activities for young children with disabilities. The study contributed to research on literacy development for infants and toddlers with disabilities by examining: 1) the perceived value of early literacy activities for children with disabilities from the perspective of families and coaches; 2) the relationship between the demographics of the families and coaches and their perceived value of early literacy; 3) the extent that families express concern about their child's skill development in communication, language, and literacy as reflected on their Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP); and 4) the extent that ITP coaches intentionally use or suggest activities that promote early literacy in sessions with families.
The results indicate that this homogeneous group of families and providers value literacy and early literacy activities. Families in the samples engaged in routine-based interactions that tend to foster early literacy development, but did not tend to engage in purposeful activities that extend routine-based learning in language, communication, or literacy. Families expressed more concern about expressive language delays of their children than with either receptive language delays or skill development in early literacy. Family coaches indicated that during home visits they encourage the use of strategies that tend to foster early literacy development, but may not have done so to intentionally impact early literacy per say. Only a few modest relationships between demographics and perceived value of literacy were noted. The lack of relationships may be due to the homogeneous nature of the sample and the overall low number of families and coaches who participated in the study.