Speech Assistant Study

A preliminary investigation into the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of speech & language therapist led interventions for children with speech sound disorder versus programmes delivered by assistants.

Speech and imagesChildren with speech disorder are the largest single client group referred to NHS speech and language therapy (SLT).  Whilst the speech problems for as many as 75% of children are known to resolve between the ages of 3 and 6, a substantial number have speech sound disorder (SSD) which continues beyond the age of typical development.  When SSD persists beyond age 5, children are at risk for poor life outcomes in terms of education, employment, relationships, criminal behaviour and mental health.

Many children receive NHS intervention for SSD at school.  In some areas this is typically delivered by SLTs, whilst in other areas NHS SLT provision for some children consists of providing a programme which is delivered by SLT assistants.  The decision regarding delivery of intervention by SLT or by assistant has been determined by service needs rather than research evidence.

Aims and objectives

To estimate the impact of SLT led versus assistant led intervention for children with SSD on outcomes in speech.  Specifically to:

  • Explore the efficacy of SLT led versus assistant led interventions
  • To examine the cost associated with SLT and assistant led interventions
  • To gather information that will help to inform a future clinical trial

For more information please download the PDF below.