The lived experience of children with primary speech & language impairments

While there has been research in the area of primary speech and language impairments (PSLI), this research has been predominantly quantitative and impairment-based and the personal stories and voices of children and young people have not featured in the literature.

A pilot study has been conducted with the aims of: identifying appropriate recruitment methods for the main PhD study; to explore appropriate research methods; and to refine the research question for the main PhD study by exploring identity through listening to children’s personal stories about themselves and their experiences e.g. how children talk about their talking, learning and transition in their lives and how they construct the notion of help they receive.

The findings of the pilot study indicated that children are in a process of performing and negotiating their identity in their daily lives. The children all presented a positive self image to the researcher. They talked about their competence, which mainly related to activities such as sports, computers and other hobbies. While they talked about spelling and other academic difficulties, they did not talk to a large extent about their speech or language impairments.

The findings of the pilot study have been reviewed and have informed the direction of the PhD study.