Here is the abstract from Rachel Forsythe’s final year research project, supervised by Professor James Law and Dr Carolyn Letts.
Exploring the Relationships Between Underpinning Theory and Intervention Choice for Children with Developmental Language Disorders: Interpreting Data from a Practitioner Questionnaire Carried Out in 39 Countries
Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) have impairments in their understanding and use of language. Speech and Language Therapy interventions can be effective for DLD but there is limited research into practitioner-reported interventions, especially across countries. Therefore, it is important to investigate the current use of intervention approaches alongside rationales and scientific evidence across a diverse range of countries.
Practitioner-reported questionnaires were distributed online in 39 COST Action countries. The participants were 2408 practitioners. Analysis included thematic analysis, coding qualitative data and statistical exploration.
A wide range of intervention approaches and rationales were reported. Most responses included a client-centred factor. Participants were more likely to use the client’s level of functioning as a rationale if they reported a severe impairment. Participants with University level education were less likely to report basing intervention on client-centred factors. Overall there was limited use of scientific evidence. Specific interventions were used across countries. The key themes of intervention had varying levels of scientific evidence.
Certain client and practitioner characteristics could have an impact on the intervention approaches and rationales used across countries. Limited numbers of practitioners reporting use of scientific evidence suggest that there should be more initiatives to encourage scientific evidence-based practice.
Key words: Developmental Language Disorders, Language Intervention for Children, Qualitative Data analysis, Quantitative Data analysis
Here is the abstract from Catherine Morrison’s final year research project, supervised by Dr Carolyn Letts and Kate Laws.
Enablers and barriers to the use of high-tech AAC in the specialist classroom
Numerous factors interact with alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) use in the specialist classroom. Despite this, there are no studies known to the researcher in the UK which consider the enablers and barriers to high-tech AAC in this setting. This project specifically aims to discover the enablers and barriers to communication via high-tech AAC in the specialist classroom. Qualitative methods of five classroom observations and thirteen interviews with speech and language therapists, teachers and learning support assistants were used to gather data. Thematic analysis was conducted to reveal key enablers and barriers to high-tech AAC use. A wide range of factors were identified under the themes of those relating high-tech AAC use and the student’s capabilities, external factors and the attitudes of staff/students. Factors, including communication partner behaviour, vocabulary on the device and perception of purpose of the device, were perceived as enablers and barriers, varying between classroom situations. Implications include that considering the potential enablers and barriers to use should be part of the assessment process during high-tech AAC provision. Once barriers are identified strategies to minimise the impact of these if possible, should be incorporated into interventions used so students are encouraged to reach their communicative potential.
Key words: Qualitative Data analysis, Alternative and augmentative communication
Here is the abstract from Emma Higgins’ final year research project, supervised by Dr Cristina McKean and Dr Carolyn Letts.
Listen, we have something to say: Developing methods for eliciting, analysing and understanding children’s stories about themselves
This study aimed to evaluate methods of eliciting and analysing typically developing children’s personal narratives to inform the development of a method for assessing the personal narratives of children with developmental language disorder (DLD). To do this, it evaluated, using ten-year-old children, the elicitation method for children’s personal narratives designed by the IALP Child Language Committee. It also evaluated two methods for analysing children’s personal narratives, a structural focused analysis method and a coherence focused analysis method, in relation to children with DLD. It found the elicitation method enabled children of a range of abilities to tell a range of personal narratives. It also found, with development of both approaches, a combination of the two analysis methods has potential to provide a reliable and sensitive analysis method providing useful information for the diagnosis of and intervention planning in DLD.
Key words: Developmental Language Disorders, Qualitative Data analysis, Quantitative Data analysis
Here is the abstract from Hannah Asbridge’s final year research project, supervised by Dr Helen Stringer and Jen Murphy (Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
Applying Behaviour Change Theory to Speech and Language Therapy Intervention for Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction: An Investigation for Service Improvement
Summary: This study provides the exploratory stages of using Behaviour Change Theory (BCT) to characterise Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) intervention for Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction (ILO). The study aimed to review literature using a BCT framework and compare this to observations of current practice. The study aims to develop research tools using BCT to facilitate future investigation.
Methods: The investigation comprised three phases: a literature review; development of a questionnaire for Speech and Language Therapists and development of a questionnaire for patients.
Results: A paucity of detailed literature was identified concerning SLT intervention for ILO. BCT was used to identify a subset of specific Behaviour Change Techniques relevant to this intervention from literature and current practice. Using these findings, questionnaires for patients and Speech and Language Therapists respectively were developed using the BCT framework.
Conclusions: BCT proved to be a useful and relevant framework for characterising this intervention. The research tools developed can be used to underpin future data gathering with BCT. This approach shows significant clinical implications for developing an effective complex intervention for this disorder. Future research should continue beyond the scope of this study to pursue a more comprehensive analysis of this intervention using BCT.
Key Words: Qualitative Data analysis, Intervention Analysis for Service Improvement