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Parent and teacher perceptions of participation and outcomes in an intensive communication intervention for children with pragmatic language impairment

Authors


Address correspondence to: Catherine Adams, School of Psychological Sciences, Ellen Wilkinson Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK; e-mail: catherine.adams@manchester.ac.uk

Abstract

Background

Treatment trials that enquire into parents’ and teachers’ views on speech–language interventions and outcomes for primary school-age children are relatively rare. The current study sought perceptions of the process of intervention and value placed on outcomes resulting from a trial of intervention, the Social Communication Intervention Project (SCIP), for children with communication disorders characterized by persistent needs in pragmatics and social use of language.

Aims

Aims: To describe parent and teacher views around the process and experience of participating in SCIP intervention, including aspects of collaborative practice; and to gain understanding of parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of communication outcomes for children who had received intervention.

Methods & Procedures

Parents and teachers of eight children in the intervention arm of the SCIP study participated in semi-structured interviews with a researcher within 2 months of completion of SCIP intervention. The framework method of analysis was used to explore predetermined themes based around a list of topics informed by previous thinking and experience of the research.

Outcomes & Results

Parents and teachers perceived liaison with the SCIP speech and language therapist as being an important element of the intervention. Indirect approaches to liaison with parents were perceived as effective in transferring information as were brief meetings with teachers. Teachers and parents were able to make explicit links between therapy actions and perceived changes in the child. Work on comprehension monitoring and emotional vocabulary was perceived to be particularly effective with respect to communication outcomes. Parents also reflected that they had adopted different strategies towards communication and behaviour in the home as a result of intervention. The limits of potential change in terms of child communication in areas such as non-verbal communication and pragmatic skills were discussed by parents.

Conclusions & Implications

This analysis has contributed essential information to the evaluation of SCIP by describing the experience of the intervention as delivered, exploring processes of effective implementation and change in the school setting and by describing the value placed on different outcomes by parents and teachers. These findings can inform planning for collaborations between speech and language therapists and teachers and provide useful information about mechanisms of change in different components of the SCIP intervention which have not been individually evaluated before. Information on changes in children's communication skills which were perceived as meaningful to those living and working with the children daily is crucial to the acceptance and translation of the SCIP intervention into practice.

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