A Systematic Literature Review (2000-2013) of the Long Term Outcomes for Children with Speech, Language and Communication Needs
Barr, C. (2014) A Systematic Literature Review (2000-2013) of the Long Term Outcomes for Children with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, no. 62.
Background: Research indicates that speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) can have a crucial impact on a range of long term outcomes which can in turn affect an individual's quality of life in several domains. Long term risk factors associated with persistent SLCN include lower educational attainment, behavioural problems, emotional and psychological difficulties, poorer employment prospects, challenges to mental health and higher rates of delinquency. Research has suggested that timely assessment and intervention is advisable and can play a role in minimising difficulties as well as improving life outcomes. Therefore an exploration of the research in this area is essential to enhance further understanding of these outcomes and subsequent education of the public. Aim: This systematic literature review aims to inform current and future practice about the extent to which a range of speech, language and communication needs have a long term effect on an individual's quality of life and how these outcomes vary. Method: Eleven longitudinal studies were located and reviewed. Studies included one case study and ten cohort studies. Results: Findings suggested that long term outcomes for speech impairment were much more positive than those for language impairment. Speech impairment was associated with long term literacy difficulties but no other effects were found. Conversely language impairment tended to be persistent and pervasive in nature and long term outcomes included severe literacy skills, mental health and psychiatric issues, poor social adaptation, poor language abilities, global cognitive impairment, antisocial issues, prolonged unemployment and lack of close relationships. Conclusions: Overall the evidence suggests that a diagnosis of language impairment in childhood can have a significantly detrimental impact in lifelong outcomes. Findings are valuable in educating families, teachers and the multidisciplinary team about how crucial early intervention is in order to reduce disadvantage. Support from a range of disciplines will be conducive to the advancement of success and maximisation of potential.