School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Aoife Gallagher seminar

Co-designing an optimal SLT service to schools for children with developmental language disorders (DLD) with practitioners and service-users

Aoife Gallagher

Thursday 11 October 2018, 12-1pm, King George VI Building, Room 1.12

Abstract: Children with DLD of schoolage are at risk of poorer outcomes into adulthood. If we are to improve the life chances of this population, speech and language therapists need work effectively in schools. Working in schools presents SLTs with considerable challenges, many of which are difficult to resolve.

Compounding this challenge, views of parents and children with DLD are often not included when planned improvements to SLT services are undertaken. As part of our larger study to identify improvements to SLT services when working with school-aged children who have DLD, we engaged speech and language therapists (SLTs), teachers, parents and children to co-design their ideal SLT service.

Stakeholders all agreed that support in school should be individualised, enabling and enriching. We identified key differences between the children and practitioners in describing the purpose of support of school. For these children, the primary goal of support was to reduce the barriers they faced in school on a daily basis as a result of their language disorder.

For SLTs and teachers, support was to remediate the language deficit of the child. Practitioners (SLTs and teachers) did not articulate the barriers that the children described and lacked awareness of them. The findings of the study point to the important insights that children and young people with DLD can bring to the process of service design and planning of support and the need to develop our ability to give children with DLD genuine influence in such decisions.