Parent Based Models of Speech and Language Therapy

A randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of parent-based models of speech and language therapy intervention, and parent attitudes, for 2 to 3 year old children with primary language delay in areas of social disadvantage.

Primary language delay remains one of the most prevalent developmental delays in early childhood and previous research has established that language difficulties are a particular risk factor for adverse outcomes.

Research has established that the prevalence and prognosis of early language delay is exacerbated by social disadvantage in two ways.  Firstly, low socio-economic status has been identified as a predictive factor in indicating persisting language difficulties and adverse outcomes (Paul & Roth, 2011; Fernald et al, 2013, Clegg et al, 2015).  Secondly, in disadvantaged areas, access and engagement with services is a challenge, and health outcomes are affected by both social and geographical factors (Maggi et al, 2010).

However, research indicates that the negative effects of social disadvantage can be mediated by a positive parenting environment (Gutman & Feinstein, 2007; Raviv et al, 2004).  Although it is unclear exactly how parental attitude and involvement mediates the impact of intervention, evidence links the home learning environment, including parenting behaviours, skills and attitudes, to children’s learning outcomes at age three and five (Gregg & Goodman, 2010; Growing Up in Scotland, Scottish Government, 2015).

Aims of the research and expected outcomes:

  1. Carry out a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of the enhanced parent-based intervention (EPBI) programme compared to the standard parent-based Intervention (PBI) in 2 to 3 year old children with a clinical diagnosis of primary language delay in areas of social disadvantage.  These outcomes will lead to a clearer understanding of the value of delivering parent based intervention with socially disadvantaged clinical populations.
  2. Evaluate the effect of parental skills, attitude and confidence to engagement with treatment, and child outcomes. These outcomes will lead to a clearer understanding of the practical, physical and psychosocial effects of the home learning environment on children’s language development.