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Law, J;Levickis, P;Rodriguez-Ortiz, IR;Matic, A;Lyons, R;Messarra, C;Hreich, EK;Stankova, M
Journal Of Communication Disorders
Working with the parents and families of children with developmental language disorders: An international perspective
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Background: The relationship between parental input and child language development has had a complex history. It has become clear that indirect parent training for the parents of children with delayed language development is an important feature of interventions offered by speech and language therapists in the anglophone countries. Yet we know less about how this type of approach is realised in other countries.Methods: In this paper we report the results of a survey of practice undertaken as part of the work of COST Action IS1406, a European Union (EU) funded research network. The focus of this paper is specifically on parent-related questions and responses referring to children under the age of twelve. The survey was devised by members of the Action and circulated electronically during the summer of 2017. In all, 4024 practitioners responded from 60 countries, the majority of whom came from EU member countries.Findings: Respondents to the survey indicated that indirect therapy is commonly carried out via the parent in the early years and via teachers later. A range of professional groups, in addition to speech and language therapists, is likely to adopt this approach; including teachers, pedagogues and psychologists. A variety of interventions is reported, some of which have a reasonable evidence-base underpinning them. It is interesting to see the widespread involvement of fathers and other family members in interventions. Finally, the fact that practitioner characteristics (age, experience, location of practice etc.) are not related to the use of indirect techniques points to the universal recognition of the value of these approaches.Conclusions: Despite the very different traditions in the practice of intervention across countries, there is clearly a widespread recognition of the importance of indirect approaches to intervention and specifically those focusing on parents. The mixture of family members being involved in interventions is a very promising indication of the role sharing commonly associated with the contemporary family. Yet the number of specific intervention approaches identified is relatively small given the number of respondents. There is a need for a better understanding of what exactly practitioners are doing when they involve parents in intervention or carry out parent-child interaction interventions and how well these interventions work in routine practice. This also has implications for the application of evidence-based practice and the precise nature of the interventions concerned (advice to parents, video interaction training etc.).
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