Chapter 2 Responsive Parenting. Closing the Learning Gap for Children with Early Developmental Problems

Susan H. Landry, Heather B. Taylor, Cathy Guttentag, Karen E. Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


Responsive parenting strategies have the potential to provide specific scaffolding for common deficits found in developmentally at-risk children. This chapter describes findings from our research conducted across the past two decades with three groups of children known to have increased risk for compromised outcomes in a range of developmental domains (e.g., motor, social). These groups include children born at very low birth weight (VLBW) with varying degrees of neonatal complications associated with preterm birth, those born with spina bifida, and those born with Down syndrome. Although these three groups have striking differences in their developmental profiles, they share a common set of developmental difficulties that can be ameliorated through responsive parenting. In this chapter, we describe our research in responsive parenting, including cross-sectional studies that demonstrate how specific parenting strategies can provide supportive scaffolding to address the common deficits found in these groups of children. Evidence is then provided from a longitudinal study that documents how responsive parenting can close the learning gap for one group of children, those born at VLBW. Finally, results from a random assignment, responsive parenting intervention study that included children born at VLBW are discussed. These findings provide support for a causal role of responsive parenting in promoting more optimal development for children at risk for developmental problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Review of Research in Mental Retardation
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9780123744760
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

NameInternational Review of Research in Mental Retardation
ISSN (Print)0074-7750

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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