Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Portsmouth and Southampton families to benefit from research into language delays

BSLTRU would like to congratulate Dr Deborah Gibbard and research team in their successful grant.  The BSLTRU team look forward to working with the Solent NHS Trust investigating children diagnosed with delays in talking.
As part of the research, 160 Portsmouth and Southampton families whose 2- 3 year olds have been clinically diagnosed with early language delay will be invited to participate in a group based programme.
Dr Deborah Gibbard, recipient of the £314,711 grant from the Nuffield Foundation, said 8-10 families per group will receive 10 sessions over a 20 week period as part of the study.
“Our intervention, delivered by a speech and language therapist, is designed to teach parents how to develop their child’s language at home. This has been shown to be broadly effective and we are grateful to the Foundation for supporting our local study to help disadvantaged families in our cities.
According to Dr Gibbard, early treatment for language problems is important to help prevent low educational achievement and poorer outcomes later in life. Additionally, early intervention and parental involvement in treatment has proven beneficial for pre-school children experiencing language development difficulties.
“A pilot project we developed in Portsmouth showed enhanced parent intervention is viable in a community setting. This study will look at the effects on parental skills, attitude, confidence and engagement with treatment, in addition to outcomes for children,” added Dr Gibbard.
Success of the parent groups will be valuable for socially disadvantaged communities given the long lasting effects of children's language delay on education, personality, employment and wider society.
“More importantly, the families will benefit from a reduction in health and social inequalities that impact on the individual, family and wider communities, ensuring children have the best possible start in life.”
The study will, therefore, target socially disadvantaged families and equip parents with skills to help their children overcome language challenges. Families will be recruited through a speech and language therapist, following an initial assessment with the service.
The research trial, which will run from  April 2017 to March 2020, will be led by Dr Gibbard. Other team members include Professor Sue Roulstone of University of West of England, Dr Chris Markham of University of Portsmouth and Dr Clare Smith, speech and language therapist from Solent NHS Trust.
Dr Gibbard can be contacted via deborah.gibbard@solent.nhs.uk for further information.
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