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Parent-Based Models of Speech and Language Therapy Intervention

Parent-based intervention for 2 to 3 year old children in socially disadvantaged areas

Speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have a knock-on effect on emotional wellbeing, school readiness, literacy and school attainment, putting children at increased risk of long-term consequences such as poor literacy, mental health problems and unemployment.

In disadvantaged areas, the prevalence of language difficulties is higher than elsewhere. Factors such as parent’s confidence and self-perception can affect capacity to act on advice received, critical to empowerment.

Although social disadvantage is associated with an increased risk of SLCN, with a specific impact on children’s core language skills, the communication environment is a more dominant predictor of early language than social background. However, interventions used to achieve successful health outcomes may need enhancing.

Previous research has established that parent based intervention (PBI) has proven beneficial for pre-school children experiencing language development difficulties.

The key features of parent based intervention (PBI) are:

  • For children aged 22 – 36 months with expressive language delay (40 single words or less)
  • Parent-based approach
  • Indirect parent group intervention (10 sessions; fortnightly)
  • Language aims are jointly set with parents for each child
  • Parents focus on the aims at home using daily routines and naturally occurring situations
  • Uses strategies identified as important features in language intervention

However, as engagement with services is low in areas of social disadvantage, families often opt out of intervention and children in these areas fail to develop their language potential. The challenge is therefore to provide a PBI service that is accessible to families from disadvantaged areas.

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