Law, James and Durkin, C and Sargent, J and Hanrahan, D (1999) Beyond early language unit provision: linguistic, developmental and behavioural outcomes. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 15 (2). pp. 93-111. ISSN 0265-6590
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Official URL: http://clt.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/15/2/93
This study examines a group of children who had attended language unit provision between the ages of 3;6 and 7 years. At follow-up the children were between 7;10 and 13;3 years (mean 9.9 years). Of the 24 children, five went into mainstream school, 12 went into a language unit within a mainstream junior school and seven went to special school provision when they transferred at the end of year 2. Comparisons are drawn between the three groups in five areas, general ability, speech and language ability, literacy, phonological processing ability and behaviour. As a whole, the group continued to perform relatively poorly on most tasks with 19 (79%) continuing to have significantly delayed language development, 15 (62%) delayed reading accuracy and 13 (54%) delayed reading comprehension. Between 10 and 15 were presenting with behaviour difficulties depending on whether their performance is reported by parents or teachers. With some notable exceptions the pattern of results indicated that those children who went straight into mainstream school performed better on all measures than those who either went into further language unit provision or those who went to special schools. However, the differences between the mainstream and language groups did not reach statistical significance for any of the tasks except the two rhyme sub-tests from the Phonological Assessment Battery. The results suggest that there may only be marginal differences (at least on the measures employed in the present study) between those attending units and those deemed to be able to manage in mainstream school. A sub-group (n = 5) was identified which was made up of those children whose language scores had effectively normalized, remained relatively similar to those children whose delays persisted except for the rotation task of the British Ability Scale and for their reading accuracy and spelling. The results are discussed in terms of service provision to children with this type of difficulty.
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