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Tele-Practice for children and young people with communication disabilities: Employing the COM-B model to review the intervention literature and inform guidance for practitioners

Lookup NU author(s): Professor James LawORCiD, Dr Melanie Ferk-Dornstauder, Dr Jenna Charlton



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background Many healthcare and educational services providers have undergone a rapid transition from face-to-face to tele-practice mode of service delivery in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. This, in turn, has led to a need to better understand the evidence underpinning such moves. Based on a review of existing reviews, the present paper aims to critically analyse the relevant literature related to intervention with children with communication disabilities drawing on the COM-B model. Method Ten reviews were identified following a systematic searching of electronic data bases. These were then coded according to both PRISMA criteria and the components of the COM-B model (Mitchie et al.2014). Based on these findings, a critical analysis on the state of the telepractice intervention literature is discussed and fed into evidence-based advice for practitioners transitioning to this mode of service delivery. Results The COM-B mapping suggests that the existing literature has provided primary evidence for physical opportunity and reflective motivation (e.g. participants have the time to take part and the necessary materials, as well as a desire to do it). It has also focused on elements of social opportunity (e.g. having support and prompts from others to take part). However, there are significant gaps in the description and analysis of both physical and psychological capability components. Conclusion Whilst the evidence for tele-practice interventions for children and young people with communication disabilities is growing, it is also lacking a comprehensive framework to support its implementation. In times of rapid transitions, researchers and practitioners alike need to understand how to evaluate comprehensively the impact of changing the mode of intervention delivery. The COM-B model provides a powerful tool to reflect on the key elements for successful design and implementation of tele-practice interventions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Law J, Dornstauder M, Charlton J, Gréaux M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders

Year: 2021

Volume: 56

Issue: 2

Pages: 415-434

Print publication date: 01/03/2021

Online publication date: 01/02/2021

Acceptance date: 28/12/2020

Date deposited: 26/01/2021

ISSN (electronic): 1460-6984

Publisher: Wiley


DOI: 10.1111/1460-6984.12592


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