Preschool Children’s engagement in Speech and Language Therapy

TitlePreschool Children’s engagement in Speech and Language Therapy
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2013
AuthorsRoulstone, S, Harding, SA, Coad, J, Hambly, H, Morgan, L, Parker, N
Conference NameChild Language Seminar
Date Published06/2013
Conference LocationThe University of Manchester

It is important that children are recognised as integral to the process and practice of the speech and language therapy (SLT) interventions they receive and therefore that their views and experiences are understood.  This can be challenging with very young children. Although practitioners evaluate children’s engagement in interventions as an ongoing part of their assessment and evaluation, it is unusual for this to be an explicit part of their work. Additionally it is rarely focused on in SLT intervention research.This study aimed to explore preschool children’s feelings about and perceptions of SLT interventions. 
Twenty-four children who had not received SLT input aged between 2;2 and 4;00, were seen in groups of four, in their usual preschool setting.  They were exposed to a range of SLT activities that speech and language therapists had previously described during focus group sessions that are part of a broader programme of research to investigate SLT practice with preschool children.   
Following the SLT activities the children then participated in an evaluation session which used dramatherapy methods, such as music making or storytelling.  Each child attended a modal average of 4 (range 1 - 4) sessions, each lasting one hour.
In excess of 72 hours of digital video data, field notes and audio files were collected.  The Framework Method (Richie, Spencer &Connor 2003) of analysis was used to identify descriptions of the children’s engagement using categories identified a priori to the analysis. The categories included the children vocalisations, body language and attention.  Three iterations of analysis produced themes and contextual effects which form an overarching model of the children’s engagement in relation to the activities and resources used during the SLT interventions.  
 The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the implications of the study’s findings for SLT interventions with preschool children.