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School of Health Sciences

Exploring outcomes of language and communication intervention in school-aged children with speech, language and communication needs: therapist, teacher, parent and child perspectives


1st supervisor: Professor Victoria Joffe

2nd supervisor: tbc

Research centre

Language and Communication Science

Project description

A recent review of Speech and Language Therapy services to children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) identified a significant lack of functional outcome measures to monitor changes in performance as a result of interventions (Bercow, 2008).  Standardised tests are routinely used to assess performance, despite the inherent problems in re-testing over a short time frame. Furthermore, these tests typically do not assess functional language in everyday context (Myers & Botting, 2008) and are not always sensitive in distinguishing children with language disorders (Bishop & McDonald, 2009).

There is currently no patient reported outcome measure which has been designed specifically for use by individuals with SLCN and which explores a range of outcomes focusing on areas of speech, language, communication and swallowing. In order to fill this gap, the POAT (Profiling Outcomes across Time) tool has been developed.

The POAT is a series of rating scales which can be used by parents, teachers and service users to chart change over time. It consists of seven subscales: eating and drinking, pre-verbal communication, speech, voice, fluency, talking and listening, communication, behaviour, social skills and emotional well-being.

The doctoral student will i) conduct a systematic review on outcome measures used for children with SLCN in the domains of language and communication as well as behaviour and emotional wellbeing; and ii) trial the POAT tool on different groups of children with SLCN comparing and contrasting responses from therapists, teachers, parents and children as well as with outcomes obtained from traditional standardised language tests.

Recommended Skills / Prior Learning

  1. Degree (2.1 or above) in a related area: speech and language therapy, psychology, linguistics (essential)
  2. Excellent communication and interviewing skills (essential)
  3. Prior experience of working with children with speech language and communication needs in this age-group (desirable)