Families are set to benefit from a six-figure grant for helping children with language delays.
The Trust provides specialist community and mental health services in Southampton, Portsmouth and surrounding districts.
It will use the grant to invite families with children who have a clinical diagnosis of early language delay to take part in a group-based programme.
160 families to take part
Altogether, the Trust will invite 160 families with children aged two to three years old to take part. All the families will be from the Portsmouth and Southampton areas.
Dr Deborah Gibbard, recipient of the £314,711 grant, said eight to 10 families per group will receive 10 sessions. This would take place over a 20-week period.
She said: “Our intervention, delivered by a speech and language therapist, is designed to teach parents how to develop their child’s language at home. This has been shown to be broadly effective and we are grateful to the Foundation for supporting our local study to help disadvantaged families in our cities.”
Importance of early treatment for language delays
According to Dr Gibbard, early treatment for language problems is important. It could help to prevent low educational achievement and poorer outcomes later in life. Additionally, early intervention and parental involvement in treatment had proven beneficial for pre-school children experiencing language development difficulties.
Dr Gibbard added: “A pilot project we developed in Portsmouth showed enhanced parent intervention is viable in a community setting. This study will look at the effects on parental skills, attitude, confidence and engagement with treatment, in addition to outcomes for children.”
The study will target socially disadvantaged families. The aim will be to equip parents with skills to help their children overcome language challenges.
Families will be recruited through a speech and language therapist. This will follow an initial assessment with the service.
The research trial will run from April 2017 to March 2020.
Dr Gibbard will lead it. Other team members include Professor Sue Roulstone of University of West of England and Dr Chris Markham of University of Portsmouth. Dr Clare Smith, speech and language therapist from Solent NHS Trust, will also be part of the team.