The Power of Coaching

The mission of a TWMB coach is to empower families to take an active part in building their baby’s brain to support language acquisition and, later, school readiness. There is no better way to do this than to make every baby a conversational partner.

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TWMB coaches: 

Inspire: Through talking with families about language nutrition, coaches equip them with the knowledge and skills to practice language nutrition themselves. One’s words and messages have the potential to empower families to develop habits that are crucial in shaping the educational outcomes of children. 

Lead: Coaches have many opportunities to lead by example, modeling to families how to interact with their baby and reiterating messages on how to encourage and support the baby’s development during these critical first years. 

Advocate: By being advocates for children having opportunities to learn and understand the meaning and uses of new words, coaches can help create a better future for all children. 

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Reach the people who reach the people

Talk With Me Baby is not a program. It is a population-based approach that leverages the large-scale workforces and population groups that already interact with new and expectant parents on a recurring basis. By preparing individuals in these workforces to strengthen the capacity of parents and caregivers to deliver language nutrition to the infants in their care, TWMB can efficiently and affordably reach the whole population of infants and their caregivers—while ensuring an additional emphasis on those at risk of not receiving abundant language nutrition.

TWMB analyzed data to identify the places where new and expectant parents are going for services and supports – healthcare providers, WIC offices, childcare facilities, and child welfare offices – and developed a comprehensive set of tools designed to prepare the staff in those places who interact with parents and caregivers to become language nutrition coaches. In this way, TWMB takes advantage of these natural touchpoints to transfer capacity to parents and caregivers to deliver language nutrition to their children starting at birth.

Recognizing that infants are the largest and fastest growing population group of system-involved children and that the majority of infants enter the system within the first three months of life, TWMB also developed materials that can be incorporated into foster parent training programs. Many of these babies are born prenatally exposed to drugs, premature or low birthweight. As a result, they are more likely than other children to experience medical problems, disabilities, and developmental delays. By ensuring that foster parents deliver language nutrition to the infants in their care and by preparing them to act as language nutrition coaches for the biological parents of those children, TWMB seeks to reach these vulnerable children and support their healthy attachment and brain development.

Learn more about the research-based, curricula and multimedia training materials for these workforces and groups.

 

The role of the TWMB coach is two-fold:

1. Help families realize the important role they play in building their baby’s brain, language, and school readiness, and the unique qualifications they have as their baby’s first and best teacher.

2. Empower families to practice language nutrition by building their skills and coaching them to use these with their baby.

Coaching is a collaborative relationship between a coach and a willing individual. The goal of the TWMB coach is to establish this relationship with expectant/new parents and family members who are caregivers or play a significant role in the baby’s life to guide them in creating reciprocal language experiences with their baby. Those interactions with the family of a young child are critical and will determine how families receive messaging and coaching. Tone and approach will affect the family’s feelings about being respected as individuals, a member of a family, and as part of a community. In short, the parents’ experience of these interactions can determine whether the concept of language nutrition is embraced or rejected.

The TWMB coaching model is based on a set of beliefs or principles that define interactions with families. Central to these beliefs is to approach families from a strength-based perspective, to empower families to take an active role in their child’s future and to continue to play that role in meaningful and sustainable ways throughout their child’s life.

 

The TWMB Coaching Model: “I do. We do. You do.” 

In the TWMB model, which is based on the coaching model developed by the Atlanta Speech School, the baby is the central focus of all interactions with parents. Being baby-centered means talking directly with the baby throughout all activities, such as examinations, patient education or even changing his or her diaper. Direct questions and comments to the baby whenever possible—realizing and expecting that parents will supply the answers. By directing the conversation to the baby, it emphasizes the importance of engaging the baby, knowing full well that the baby cannot answer yet. The baby becomes everyone’s conversational partner—especially that of the nurse. 

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Nurses model language transactions and engage in educational interactions through the “I Do. We Do. You Do.” coaching model (also known as the Return Demonstration Model), illustrated above, by following these steps:

  1. Coach initially demonstrates the skill. 
  2. Coach and caregiver practice the skill together. 
  3. Parent or caregiver attempts the skill on his or her own, while the coach observes and provides feedback and encouragement. 

The model is similar to a standard coaching model used in both educational and nursing settings. The nurse first uses his/her skills and strategies to provide language nutrition to the baby and models the behavior to the family. Then the nurse asks the family or caregiver to try it together. Finally, the nurse asks the caregiver to try it by himself or herself using an action-oriented opportunity.

 

Talk With Me Baby is made possible by a grant from the United Way of Atlanta and is a collaborative effort among organizations.