Investigating the Potential for Inter Disciplinary Collaboration within Nurture Groups.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: Nurture groups are school based interventions that offer specialist support for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD). Current research highlights the link between communication difficulties and SEBD and suggests that a high proportion of these communication difficulties are undetected (Henekar, 2005). Little is known about the opinions of nurture group teaching staff regarding working with children who have co occurring SEBD and communication difficulties. Aims: This project aimed to investigate nurture group teaching staff’s confidence levels, in both identifying and supporting children with specific disorders and difficulties that incorporate a speech and language communication need. In those cases that staff reported low confidence ratings, they were asked to indicate ways in which this could be improved. Two hypotheses were suggested: firstly, that staff would report lower confidence ratings for disorders that incorporate specific language difficulties where the term 'specific' refers to the primary nature of the difficulty. Secondly that staff who had received additional training in identifying and facilitating speech, language and communication needs would report higher confidence levels than staff who had received no additional training. Method: An anonymous questionnaire was distributed to nurture group teaching staff via email. Parametric statistical tests were used to examine the data. Results: A total of 20 staff members completed the questionnaire. Staff reported significantly higher confidence ratings for selected disorders and difficulties compared to others. No significant relationship was identified between confidence levels and additional training received. The majority of staff indicated that they required further training in addition to greater contact with other professionals and outside agencies in order to increase their confidence levels for particular disorders and difficulties. Conclusion: The diverse nature of the field of speech and language difficulties can make it extremely difficult for teaching staff to identify and facilitate children with communication difficulties particularly when a child’s behaviour and nurture needs are the most salient aspect of their presentation. In order to increase the confidence ratings of teaching staff within nurture groups the amount of contact with speech and language therapy staff needs to be higher. Weaknesses in the study were highlighted which future research could address.
B.Sc. (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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