Past Project Highlights

Better Communication Research Programme


The Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP) followed the Bercow Review of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs in 2008 and was funded by the Department for Education. The Programme involved researchers from across the UK working on 5 strands of research examining evidence for interventions, prevalence of SLCN, costs of services, families’ preferred outcomes and factors influencing socio-emotional outcomes.


A feasibility study to investigate the usefulness of language analysis software in speech & language therapy

Speech and Language Therapists regard language sampling as an essential part of the assessment process because it provides the most clinically rich information about children’s expressive language. However the process of transcribing language is time-consuming so most therapists rely on standardised formal assessments alongside their subjective impressions of a child’s spontaneous language. This study piloted the employment of a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant who was trained to transcribe language samples using a computer program (SALTsoftware).

Investigation of the use of Voice Amp with adults who stutter

VA is a device that alters auditory feedback, that is, it changes how the speaker hears their own voice while they are talking. VA returns the speakers' voice with a slight delay and with an alteration in the pitch. These changes have been found to help some people who stammer to speak more fluently. Devices like VA have been available for some time but there has been little research into how useful they are in people’s every-day lives.

Exploring evidence of deficit and theories of therapy in children with specific receptive language impairment

This project was completed as part of a PhD for the University of the West of England

Examining perspectives on important outcomes of intervention for children with primary language impairment.

Children with primary language impairment can experience broad difficulties as a consequence of their condition that impact on their family life, school, relationships and emotional well-being. For many the impact of speech and language impairments on social relationships, emotional wellbeing and education and employment can be life long.  However, research studies evaluating interventions for primary language impairment have tended to judge the effectiveness of therapies on language outcomes alone.

Bilingualism and its effects on the development of English phonology

A substantial proportion of the World’s population is bilingual or multilingual. In the UK, the number of bilingual children appears to be rising, with 15.2% of children in primary schools in the UK speaking a language other than English at home, up 1% in 12 months*. This has implications for the identification of speech and language impairments as many of the assessment tools have been developed and tested on monolingual populations. Consequently there has been a history of both over and under diagnosis of speech and language impairments in bilingual populations.

The origins and outcomes of persisting speech impairment

Problems making and using the sounds of speech in conversation is the most common reason for referral to speech and language therapy. Children may have difficulties with this aspect of their development for a variety of reasons – for example hearing impairment, cleft palate or cerebral palsy.

What’s it like to be a teenager with speech & language difficulties?

Speech, language and communication difficulties can persist into teenage and adult years. Yet we know little about what it is like for young people to live with communication impairment.  Until recently, there has been little emphasis on what happens to children with speech language and communication needs (SLCN) after primary school. The Bercow report [1] found minimal evidence of services into secondary education.