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Communication interventions and their impact on behaviour in the young child: A systematic review

Lookup NU author(s): Professor James LawORCiD, Dr Helen StringerORCiD


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Speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and social, emotional and behaviour difficulties (SEBD) commonly overlap, yet we know relatively little about the mechanism linking the two, specifically to what extent it is possible to reduce behaviour difficulties by targeted communication skills. The EPPI Centre systematic review methodology was applied to the intervention literature related to primary school aged children with both SLCN and SEBD. Studies were graded for study quality. Nineteen studies including 148 children met the inclusion criteria. Heterogeneity was high in terms of symptoms, methodology, interventions and outcomes. All studies reported positive effects of intervention on both communication and behavioural outcomes although the majority were graded as being of relatively low quality. Despite study limitations the findings suggest that this is a promising direction of enquiry. There remain many gaps in the evidence, for example study quality needs to improve, comparative work is rare and it is difficult to use these interventions to reflect on the type of systemic classroom models of service delivery recommended for many of these children. The results have implications for both clinical practice and further research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Law J, Plunkett C, Stringer H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Child Language Teaching and Therapy

Year: 2012

Volume: 28

Issue: 1

Pages: 7-23

Print publication date: 09/09/2011

ISSN (print): 0265-6590

ISSN (electronic): 1477-0865

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0265659011414214


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