Intervention for children with language impairments: A model of evidence based outcome research

Year: 2006

Author: Parkinson, Gillian, Humphrey, Neil

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Over the past 30 years successive governments in the UK have endeavoured to make the statutory framework suitable for children with special educational needs (SEN). More recently efforts have been made to personalise children's learning, making educational experience more innovative and responsive to the diversity of need in schools. A drive to develop and evaluate intervention strategies for children with language impairments is now emerging, that is both methodologically challenging and rewarding. The current review demonstrates difficulties encountered with using outcome based research with language impaired children. Many studies have inherent methodological problems involving small sample sizes, ill matched groups, with designs that are difficult to replicate or compare. Such approaches are unlikely to yield significant results, or if they do, then it is difficult to devise clear guidance regarding choice of intervention strategies. In the light of these difficulties, theoretical, methodological and practical issues are discussed and a model is proposed to assist in enabling interventions to be identified, and the results shared with educators. We suggest use of this model ensures a more rigorous approach when undertaking large scale systematic, evidence-based research into the effective approaches to teaching children not only with language impairments, but across the field of special needs education.

Key words; language impairment, teaching, research methods, evidence based practice.