A Randomized Control Trial of a Responsive Parenting Intervention to Support Healthy Brain Development and Self-regulation in Toddlers Born Preterm

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Posted on February 10, 2022 by childrenslearninginstitute



Principal Investigator:

Dana DeMaster, Ph.D.


Kelly Vaughn, Ph.D.

Funding Agency:

Herman H. Fleishman Foundation

Description of the Project:

The purpose of this study is to determine whether participation in the Play and Learning Strategies (PALS) parenting intervention results in increased caregiver responsiveness behaviors and to test if participation in PALS results in increases in toddler skills and/or toddler neurological development.

The PALS intervention provides parents with behaviors that, collectively, are known as a responsive parenting style. Four constructs make up this responsive parenting style:

  1. Contingent responsiveness, (responses are conditionally linked to the child’s signals)
  2. Warm sensitivity (high levels of affection and understanding of child states)
  3. Maintaining vs. redirecting attention
  4. Verbal scaffolding (providing child appropriate language supports)


Families of toddlers who were born pre-term

Research Sites:

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston