The National Center for Evidence-Based Practice
in Communication Disorders
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Summary of Systematic Review

The Interaction Between Behavior and Speech and Language Difficulties: Does Intervention for One Affect Outcomes in the Other? Technical Report
Law, J., & Plunkett, C. (2009).
Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

This review meets the criteria for a high-quality evidence-based systematic review.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review states a clearly focused question or aim Yes
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes*
Quality assessments are reproducible Yes*
Characteristics of the included studies are provided Yes

*Criteria for weighing the evidence considers study methodology and is available in Appendix 3.

*Findings from studies investigating pharmacological interventions are also included in this review, however are not summarized since they are not within the scope of practice from speech-language pathology.Description:
This is a review of studies that investigated "the relationship between speech, language, and communication difficulties and emotional and behavioral difficulties in children of primary school age" (p. 3).

Question(s)/Aim(s) Addressed:

  1. What are the characteristics of the literature that consider the interaction between communication and behavior?

  2. The interaction between communication difficulties and behavioral problems: does intervention for one affect outcomes in the other?

Population:
Children identified as having either speech, language and communication difficulties (SLCD) and/or emotional and behavioral difficulties (EBD) aged between 5- and 12-years-old.

Intervention/Assessment:
Didactic interventions use behavioral modification to improve behavior or communication skills. Hybrid interventions use behavioral modification to teach communication and behavioral skills in a manner more aligned with a natural context.

Number of Studies Included:
21

Years Included:
After 1984

Conclusions:

Social Communication Disorders
  • Treatment

    • Cognition/Language

      • Behavioral Interventions/Techniques

        • General Findings

          • Within the group of studies of didactic techniques (e.g., pivotal response training, peer intervention, functional communication), it was found "that children described as normally developing have been successfully instructed to teach social communicative skills and social interactive behaviours to children with autism" (pp. 43-44).  

          • Within the group of studies pertaining to hybrid interventions, positive effects on language, social skills, and behaviour were associated with a classroom wide implemented intervention (p. 44). 

        • Functional Communication Training and Pivotal Responses Training

          • Within the group of studies of didactic techniques (e.g., pivotal response training, peer intervention, functional communication), it was found "that children described as normally developing have been successfully instructed to teach social communicative skills and social interactive behaviours to children with autism" (pp. 43-44).

      • Peer-Mediated/Implemented 

        • Within the group of studies of didactic techniques (e.g., pivotal response training, peer intervention, functional communication), it was found "that children described as normally developing have been successfully instructed to teach social communicative skills and social interactive behaviours to children with autism" (pp. 43-44).  

  • Service Delivery

    • Setting

      • Within the group of studies pertaining to hybrid interventions, positive effects on language, social skills, and behaviour were associated with a classroom wide implemented intervention (p. 44).

Sponsoring Body:
EPPI-Centre; Social Science Research Unit; Institute of Education; University of London

Keywords:
Speech Disorders, Language Disorders

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