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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Historically speech and language therapy services for children have been framed within a rehabilitative framework with explicit assumptions made about providing therapy to individuals. While this is clearly important in many cases, we argue that this model needs revisiting for a number of reasons. First, our understanding of the nature of disability, and therefore communication disabilities, has changed over the past century. Second, there is an increasing understanding of the impact that the social gradient has on early communication difficulties. Finally, understanding how these factors interact with one other and have an impact across the life course remains poorly understood. To describe the public health paradigm and explore its implications for speech and language therapy with children. We test the application of public health methodologies to speech and language therapy services by looking at four dimensions of service delivery: (1) the uptake of services and whether those children who need services receive them; (2) the development of universal prevention services in relation to social disadvantage; (3) the risk of over-interpreting co-morbidity from clinical samples; and (4) the overlap between communicative competence and mental health. It is concluded that there is a strong case for speech and language therapy services to be reconceptualized to respond to the needs of the whole population and according to socially determined needs, focusing on primary prevention. This is not to disregard individual need, but to highlight the needs of the population as a whole. Although the socio-political context is different between countries, we maintain that this is relevant wherever speech and language therapists have a responsibility for covering whole populations. Finally, we recommend that speech and language therapy services be conceptualized within the framework laid down in The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion.
    Full-text Article · Sep 2013 · International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: In recent years there has been significant interest in the differential processing of nouns and verbs in people with aphasia, but more limited consideration about whether the differences have implications for therapy. It remains unclear whether verbs can be treated in a similar way to nouns or should be treated using approaches that recognize the relationship between verb retrieval and sentence production. Aims: This paper reviews studies focusing on therapy for spoken verb retrieval, considering the impact of therapy on treated and untreated verbs, sentence production and connected speech. It explores whether there are differential gains across therapy paradigms and whether verbs respond to therapy in the same way as nouns. Method & Procedures: Studies were identified using a systematic search. A total of 26 studies were reviewed and classified under four headings: (1) studies that treated verbs in a single-word context, (2) studies that compared treatment for nouns and verbs, (3) studies that treated verbs in a sentence context, and (4) studies that treated verb retrieval and argument structure. Main Contribution: Findings from the review demonstrate that verb therapy, irrespective of whether verbs are treated within a single-word or sentence context, is effective in improving the retrieval of treated verbs, but with limited generalization to untreated verbs. Verbs respond very similarly to nouns when treated using the same techniques, but improving verb retrieval may be harder to achieve than improving noun retrieval. The impact on sentence production is more varied. The gains in sentence production are discussed in relation to the different therapy types, the rationale for therapy and the presence of co-occurring sentence difficulties. Conclusions: The review highlights the need for more systematic evaluation of different types of verb therapy, measuring the impact of therapy on verb retrieval, sentence production and connected speech. Only through the judicious assessment and monitoring of change across different contexts will an understanding of how verbs respond to therapy be developed and what generalization patterns can be predicted. This will lead to increased confidence in the selection of therapy approaches for people with verb difficulties in aphasia.
    Full-text Article · Nov 2012 · International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is commonly assumed that boys have poorer language skills than girls, but this assumption is largely based on studies with small, clinical samples or focusing on expressive language skills. This study examines the relationship between gender and receptive vocabulary, literacy, and non-verbal performance at 5 years through to adulthood. The participants were a UK birth cohort of 11,349 children born in one week in March 1970. Logistic regression models were employed to examine the association of gender with language and literacy at 5 and 34 years. Non-verbal abilities were comparable at 5 years, but there were significant differences for both receptive vocabulary and reading, favouring the boys and the girls, respectively. Boys but not girls who had parents who were poor readers were more likely to be not reading at 5 years. Gender was not associated with adulthood literacy. Boys may have a slight advantage over girls in terms of their receptive vocabulary, raising questions about the skills tested and the characteristics of clinical populations. The findings are discussed in terms of the nature of the way that children are assessed and the assumptions underpinning clinical practice.
    Full-text Article · Oct 2012 · International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
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