The Influence of Communication on Participation and Post-16 outcomes in 14 to 16 year olds in a Pupil Referral Unit: Teachers’ Perceptions
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Introduction: The concomitance of speech language and communication needs (SLCN) in children and young people with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) and is widely recognised in the literature. However, no studies have addressed how these communication difficulties manifest in the real world. Aims: This study aimed to investigate (1) The communication skills of adolescent SEBD pupils; and (2) how the pupils’ communication skills influence their participation and outcomes within school and wider society; through exploration of teachers’ experiences and perceptions of working with theses pupils. Method: Three teachers who work in a pupil referral unit for children with SEBD between 14 and 16 years old were interviewed using a semi structured interview. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Emergent themes were identified in relation to the aims of the study. Findings: Analysis revealed four Superordinate themes relating to communication and post-school outcomes. All participants had experience of communication difficulties in the pupils they teach. Pragmatic difficulties emerged as a salient communication difficulty which influences participation and post-16 outcomes. Pragmatic difficulties were identified but not recognised as a specific communication difficulty suggesting a diagnostic overlap between SEBD and SLCN. Teachers attempt to support the pupils’ understanding and participation using a number of facilitative strategies. Discussion & Implications: The results of this study reveal how teachers experience communication difficulties. Some correlations between communication, participation and post-16 outcomes have demonstrated how communication difficulties may have pervasive effects for pupils with SEBD. Future larger-scale research should consider the identification of pragmatic difficulties in pupils with SEBD through formal and informal assessment. There is also a need to determine the most suitable Speech and Language Therapy intervention to ameliorate pupils’ communication difficulties.
B.Sc.(Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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