30 September 2019
Several major reports and studies have been published since June. This quarter’s roundup features research on speech and language therapy provision, childhood wellbeing, Developmental Language Disorder and literacy.
A report based on information from funders of services in local areas across England, asking them about spend on support for children’s speech and language. Main findings:
A report on the factors that influence children and young people’s wellbeing from the perspective of practitioners, shown as ‘systems maps’: visual representations of the main contributing factors:
An annual study of childhood vulnerability in England, based on scrutiny of statistics and widespread consultation with CYP and with the people who support them. Over 2 million children in England live in families with substantial complex needs, and of these 1.6 million children have no established, recognised form of additional support. There’s a useful version of the report in numbers. Children with SLCN are considered a vulnerable group in their own right.
This guidance supports secondary schools to improve literacy in all subject areas. Two of the seven recommendations relate specifically to the importance of spoken language: Provide targeted vocabulary instruction in every subject, and Provide opportunities for structured talk. Alongside this, EEF have produced practical tools to support schools: Secondary Literacy RAG Self-assessment, Secondary Literacy Vignettes designed to be used in INSET, The Simple View of Reading, Vocabulary of Key Literacy Terms .
A survey of 1,007 teachers; 397 from primary, 610 from secondary. Overall opinion of Ofsted has fallen since last year. In 2018 35% considered Ofsted as reliable and trusted, this year only 18%. Also:
Children are the unhappiest they have been for almost 25 years, with a significant decrease in how happy children are with their friends, and with school – this is based on new data from the Children’s Society well-being survey: their annual Good Childhood report.
A sample of studies published over the last few months:
This study looked at children’s language skills before and after the school summer holiday. 7 year old children’s ‘semantic verbal fluency’ was assessed: a child is asked to name as many words as possible within a specified category (such as Animals, Food or Clothes), giving insight into how children store words, and into word-finding difficulties. The study found that a lengthy summer vacation causes a reduction in language skills, which is reversed after a term of school.
This study looked at the way teachers talk with children with DLD. It compared structured and informal school situations, and children with comprehension difficulties and expressive difficulties. Teachers talked more in both contexts. Children with comprehension difficulties functioned better with more structure, those with expressive difficulties took more advantage of the opportunities in informal situations.
This study looked at adolescents with DLD and their ability to understand ‘Miranda Rights’: You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Adolescents with DLD were 7 times more likely to be at risk of failing to sufficiently understand the Miranda warnings than their typically developing peers.
This article looks at the two variables of the simple view of reading: decoding and language comprehension, exploring strengths and limitations. Its wide-ranging discussion and review of evidence helps to guide our understanding of reading comprehension and its development.
A small-scale study exploring the feasibility and outcomes of a parent-implemented intervention for two-year-olds at risk of language difficulties – delivered by assistants. This targeted intervention is feasible, but showed no evidence of short-term impact for two-year-olds with expressive language delay and wider SLCN. However, it accelerated language development for some two-year-olds at risk of language difficulties and may help identify previously undetected SLCN in two-year-olds.
This study evaluated Target Word™, The Hanen Programme® for Parents of Children who are Late Talkers. The programme appears to improve communicative function for late-to-talk preschoolers. Children also made gains in communicative participation skills, expressive vocabulary, and consonant inventory during the program.
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