Professionals' Experience of Factors Which Influence Service Delivery to Secondary School Pupils with Specific Language Impairment and the Implications for Educational Provision.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Speech and Language Therapy Services to students with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) in secondary education have experienced much change over recent years. The education service has witnessed moves to encourage the inclusion of children with SLI in the mainstream school setting. The restructuring of the education system in order to follow the government guidelines for inclusion policy creates considerable challenges for Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) services. There is currently much debate as to what is the most effective way of delivering SLT support to students in mainstream schools. This study investigated the factors – both positive and negative- that influence delivery of speech and language therapy services for secondary school pupils with SLI and determine how different professional groups involved in supporting students with SLI perceive the effects on educational provision. Two focus groups were carried out, each consisting of professionals working in mainstream secondary school education supporting students with SLI. Professionals discussed their experiences of supporting students with SLI and highlighted factors which they perceived as influencing service delivery. Results demonstrated that generally both groups agreed on the positive and negative factors influencing services. The negative factors discussed were often barriers preventing success of the positive factors. Each main theme had a variety of subsections, demonstrating a wide range of factors affecting the service which are often interlinked. There was not one individual factor that was seen as a presiding influence, rather the impact of each of the themes as a whole.
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