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Evidence based pathways to intervention for children with Language Disorders

Ebbels, S; McCartney, E; Slonims, V; Dockrell, J; Norbury, CF; (2019) Evidence based pathways to intervention for children with Language Disorders. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Paediatric SLT roles often involve planning individualised intervention for specific children (provided directly by SLTs or indirectly through non-SLTs), working collaboratively with families and education staff and providing advice and training. A tiered approach to service delivery is currently recommended, whereby services become increasingly specialised and individualised for children with greater needs. AIMS: To examine 1) evidence of intervention effectiveness for children with language disorders at different tiers and 2) evidence regarding SLT roles; and to propose an evidence-based model of SLT service delivery. METHODS: Controlled, peer-reviewed studies, meta-analyses and systematic reviews of interventions for children with language disorders are reviewed and their outcomes discussed, alongside the differing roles SLTs play in these interventions. We indicate where gaps in the evidence base exist and present a possible model of service delivery consistent with current evidence, and a flowchart to aid clinical decision making. MAIN CONTRIBUTION: The service delivery model presented resembles the tiered model commonly used in education services, but divides individualised (Tier 3) services into Tier3A: indirect intervention delivered by non-SLTs, and Tier 3B: direct intervention by an SLT. We report the evidence for intervention effectiveness and which children might best be served by each tier, the role SLTs could take within each, and the evidence of effectiveness of these roles. Regarding universal interventions provided to all children (Tier 1) and those targeted at children with language weaknesses (Tier 2), there is growing evidence that approaches led by education services can be effective when staff are highly trained and well-supported. There is currently limited evidence regarding additional benefit of SLT-specific roles at Tiers 1 and 2. With regard to individualised intervention (Tier 3): children with complex or pervasive language disorders progress significantly following direct individualised intervention (Tier 3B), whereas children with milder or less pervasive difficulties can make progress when intervention is managed by an SLT, but delivered indirectly by others (Tier 3A), provided they are well-trained, -supported and -monitored. CONCLUSIONS: SLTs have a contribution to make at all tiers, but where prioritisation for clinical services is a necessity, we need to establish the benefits and cost-effectiveness of each contribution. Good evidence exists for SLTs delivering direct individualised intervention, and we should ensure that this is available to those children with pervasive and/or complex language impairments. In cases where service models are being provided which lack evidence, we strongly recommend that SLTs investigate the effectiveness of their approaches.

Type: Article
Title: Evidence based pathways to intervention for children with Language Disorders
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 Ebbels et al. Licence This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Keywords: Language disorder, intervention, speech and language therapy, speech-language pathology, children, paediatric, evidence based practice
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Language and Cognition
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10047539
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