Developmental Language Disorder: An Education Staff perspective
This study investigates education staff’s current training, experience and knowledge of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and wider speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) in Jersey. DLD is a common but hidden disorder which makes is difficult to identify. Additionally, this is an under-researched area in proportion to its prevalence in the population. Consequently, children with DLD are currently not receiving the support that they deserve. Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) is a cost effective method of ensuring these children receive the interventions the require to help minimise further potential costs to the individual and society as a whole. 44 participants from a range of educational backgrounds completed a questionnaire asking about their background; their knowledge, training and experiences of SLCN; their awareness and understanding of DLD as well as their confidence in identifying and supporting the needs of a child with DLD; the ways in which they support language development in the classroom; and finally, about their engagements with the SLT service, the ways in which they value it and how support could be improved. It was found that more needs to be done to better support education staff in relation to SLCN. The research concludes that more need to be done to improve the collaborations between Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) and both education staff and parents, improve training opportunities for education staff as well as make changes to service delivery, improve resources and employ more staff. There are no quick solutions that will solve the current problems in service delivery, research and awareness of DLD, but this research does recommend some ways to shape future research and clinical practice which hope to improve the situation that children with DLD helplessly find themselves in.