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Indirect therapy and parent-child interaction training across Europe

Law, J., Levickis, P., Rodríguez-Ortiz, I. R., Matić, A., Lyons, R., Messarra, C., ... & Stankova, M. (2019). Working with the parents and families of children with developmental language disorders: An international perspective. Journal of communication disorders, 82, 105922.

Aim of the paper:

Intervention for children with DLD can be direct or indirect. Indirect therapy means that the Speech and Language Therapists design interventions for other people to deliver. Over recent years, there has been an increasing use of indirect therapy through parents that aims to improve parent-child interaction and the communication environment in the family. While this trend can be observed in English-speaking countries, there is little research that looks at how indirect parent training happens in other countries. This paper looks at how common indirect parent training is across countries by distributing and collecting survey responses from speech and language practitioners across Europe.

What they found:

· Over 80% of speech and language therapists (SLTs) reported indirect therapy through parents, with 45% of the SLTs reported using parent-child interaction training. Over 70% of teachers reported using both indirect therapy through parents and parent-child interaction training.

· Indirect therapy was commonly carried out by parents in early years (before age 5) and by teachers later.

· Indirect therapy by parents was administered more often to children who are younger and have expressive-only language impairment.

· The family member most involved in services was usually the mother. But joint mother and father involvement, as well as mother and grandparent involvement, was present as well.

· The characteristics of the practitioner, such as work experience and work sector, made little difference in the involvement of different family members in indirect therapy.

What does this mean?

Results from this paper show that indirect intervention and parent-child interaction training are relatively common approaches used across Europe. There was a clear, widespread consensus that parent-child interaction should be a core element of intervention.

While it is encouraging to see the high level of awareness and usage of these intervention programmes, it is not clear how these indirect interventions are used by practitioners. Given that children with DLD may have different types and severity of impairment, it may be difficult for parent-child interaction intervention to be a universal provision. Further work is needed to gain better understanding of what exactly practitioners are doing when they carry out parent-child interaction intervention, and whether there are approaches that can be applied internationally.

Where can I read this paper?

This paper is open access, which means everyone can read it. Please click here to find the full paper.


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