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 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 Holly Bocock’s final year research project, supervised by Dr Nicole Lallini and Diane Goff (Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust).
Long-term Functional Outcomes Following Transoral Robotic Surgery for Patients with Hypopharyngeal Cancer
This study aimed to evaluate the long-term functional swallow outcomes following transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for patients with hypopharyngeal cancer.
Outcome measures of physical swallow function, diet modifications and dysphagia-related quality of life were gathered by retrospectively analysing scores on the Water Swallow Test (WST), Performance Status Scale (PSS) for normalcy of diet and M.D. Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (MDADI) obtained prior to TORS, at three-months post-surgery and after a year.
Twelve patients (10 male), mean age 64.9years, were included. Participants most commonly had T2 staging (58.3%) with no nodal involvement (N0=50%). Survival to the time of study was 50%. WST revealed reduced swallow capacity and speed one-year post-TORS, but no statistically significant change. Four of six patients were able to eat a normal diet after one year, no statistical difference in PSS scores was found over time. Comparative analysis was not possible for MDADI scores due to limited data, however 50% fell within the ‘optimal’ category (>80 points), and 50% within the ‘adequate’ category (76-79).
For patients with hypopharyngeal cancer, TORS was shown to provide encouraging long-term functional outcomes, with no significant difference in physical swallow ability, adaptations to diet or self-perceived swallow function found from pre-TORS to one-year post-TORS.
Key Words: Quantitative Data analysis, Dysphagia, Head and neck cancer