EMT en Español for Spanish-speaking Toddlers With Language Delays

EMT en Español for Spanish-speaking Toddlers With Language Delays                                                                               En Español

This project is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences

About the study:

  • EMT en Español is a federally funded research project and a randomized trial.
  • The focus of the study is on a specific naturalistic language intervention for kids ages 30 to 36 months who primarily speak Spanish at home, who come from low-income households, and who are delayed in their language development but do not have another primary diagnosis (e.g. Autism, down syndrome).
  • Our research lab is in the department of special education on the university side.
  • Half of the families receive 36 sessions of blended individualized child intervention and parent training and the other half participate in assessments only and are offered 10 therapy sessions once they have completed the study.
  • Everything is completely free to the families and we do not work with insurance companies.
  • All of the families receive a cash payment for participating in assessments ($50 each time with a bonus $75 for completing all study activities, for a potential total of $275).
  • Families in both groups receive toys and books for their child and our instruction manual for parents.
  • Families can (and are encouraged to) participate in any other programs for their children. The majority of our participants are in TEIS or aging out of TEIS.
  • We do not bill insurance so this is not a conflict for families and they can participate in the study in addition to any other therapies they receive.


Your child could be eligible if:

  • Spanish is the primary language spoken to the child by caregivers as measured by the Home Language Scale
  • The child demonstrates expressive and receptive language delays (at least 1.5 standard deviations below the mean n each domain as measured on the Preschool Language Scale- 5th edition Spanish)
  • The child demonstrates cognitive skills within 1 standard deviation of the mean as measured by the Leiter-R
  • The child is between 30-36 months old
  • The child does not have any other disabilities (e.g. ASD, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness)
  • There is one consistent caregiver willing to participate in training and assessments
  • The family meets criteria for low-income status (i.e., income is up to 2 times federal poverty level for a family of that size)


These home-based sessions will emphasize shared book reading, modeling vocabulary for school readiness in play and routines, and include general information for families about options for public school language related services.


If you are interested in enrolling your child in this study, please complete the survey at this link.


To learn more about this study please watch our informative video found at this link


If you are eligible to participate, you will be randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group.


Click here to view & download the study flyer in Spanish

Click here to view & download the study flyer in English

Click here to view this study on clinicaltrials.gov


This project has been reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board (191696) with Dr. Ann Kaiser & Dr. Tatiana Peredo as Principal Investigators, IES R324A190177.


More info about this study:

Detailed description of the study

The goal of the study is to conduct an initial efficacy study of a promising therapist and caregiver-implemented communication intervention to improve language and school readiness skills in low-income Spanish-speaking children with receptive and expressive language delays (ages 30 to 36 months). The randomized trial compares the effects of a caregiver plus therapist implemented EMT en Español intervention to a community based “business as usual” control group at four time points (pre- intervention, post-intervention, 6 month follow-up, 12 month follow-up) in a sample of 84 low-income, Spanish-speaking families and their toddlers with receptive and expressive language delays.


What is the problem we are addressing?

This project addresses the communication intervention needs of toddlers starting at 30 months of age with delays in both expressive and receptive language.


What is the design of the study?

This study is a clinical trial, meaning that there are at least two groups being compared to one another. Everyone in the study receives books, toys, handbooks, and compensation. Everyone also provides the study team with information about themselves and their child through surveys and assessments. However, one group also receives language intervention coaching. This allows us to see if the language intervention coaching increases the parents use of language support strategies more than those who do not receive the coaching. If so, we know the coaching is effective!


Where is happening?

This research project is taking place in home and virtually via Zoom. Participating families must live within 1-hour of Vanderbilt’s campus.


Who is participating?

Children 30 months of age and one of their caregivers participate in the study together. All parents answer surveys and assist in assessments that help us learn more about their families. Parents in the intervention condition also receive language intervention coaching for use with their child.


What do we hope the outcomes will be?

We hope that the children who participate in our study will have significant gains in communication that they otherwise would not have. If this is successful, we have another great tool to continue helping children within our community.


KidTalk staff on this project: 

Dr. Ann Kaiser, Principal Investigator

Dr. Tatiana Peredo, Principal Investigator

Ashlynn Campagna

Ana Paula Madero

Kimberly McCulla

Rachel Asres

Lauren Booth

Madeline Hinson


KidTalk doctoral students on this project:

Natalie Pak

Kelsey Dillehay

Keysha Martinez-Torres

Taydi Owens


KidTalk master’s students on this project:

Rachel Frampton

Katia Jarufe



Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez, Ed.D., M.Ed.


Links for potential participants