The National Center for Evidence-Based Practice
in Communication Disorders
Home      Social-Communication-Service-Delivery-Provider

Social Communication Disorders in School-Age Children
Service Delivery

Provider

 


 

External Scientific Evidence

Evidence-Based Practice Guidelines
Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists; Department of Health (UK); National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Clinical Guidelines: 5.3 School-aged Children with Speech, Language & Communication Difficulties
Taylor-Goh, S., ed. (2005).
RCSLT Clinical Guidelines. Bicester, Speechmark Publishing Ltd.
Added: October 2012

Description
This evidence-based guideline pertains to the assessment and management of school-aged children with speech, language, and communication difficulties. This guideline is intended for speech-language pathologists. Each recommendation is graded:

  • A - requires at least one randomized controlled trial,

  • B - requires at least one well-conducted clinical study, or

  • C - requires evidence from expert committee reports.

Recommendations
"Children with language impairments have difficulties interpreting non-verbal communication and verbal language in social contexts. The Speech & Language Therapist should provide strategies to facilitate the child’s understanding of social aspects of language" (Level B Evidence) (p. 30).

» See full summary and quality ratings



Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists; Department of Health (UK); National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Clinical Guidelines: 5.7 Deafness/Hearing Loss
Taylor-Goh, S., ed. (2005).
RCSLT Clinical Guidelines. Bicester, Speechmark Publishing Ltd.
Added: October 2012

Description
This evidence-based guideline provides recommendations for the assessment and management of communication impairments caused by deafness or hearing loss in children and adults. This guideline is intended for speech-language pathologists. Each recommendation is graded:

  • A - requires at least one randomized controlled trial,

  • B - requires at least one well-conducted clinical study, or

  • C - requires evidence from expert committee reports.

Recommendations
“The [Speech & Language Therapist] SL&T will explain the relationship between hearing and communication, and will be available for discussion and support.  Intervention should seek to facilitate the development of early communication skills, particularly appropriate eye contact, initiation, communicative intent and turn-taking skills” (p. 58).

» See full summary and quality ratings



Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists; Department of Health (UK); National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Clinical Guidelines: 5.8 Disorders of Feeding, Eating, Drinking & Swallowing (Dysphagia)
Taylor-Goh, S., ed. (2005).
RCSLT Clinical Guidelines. Bicester, Speechmark Publishing Ltd.
Added: October 2012

Description
This guideline provides recommendations for the assessment and management of swallowing disorders in children and adults. This guideline is intended for speech-language pathologists. Populations included, but were not limited to, stroke, traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease and head and neck cancer. Each recommendation is graded:

  • A - requires at least one randomized controlled trial,

  • B - requires at least one well-conducted clinical study, or

  • C - requires evidence from expert committee reports.

Recommendations
“The Speech & Language Therapist will optimize the individual’s environment in order to provide the most pleasurable, safe and positive mealtime experience.  This can be achieved [in a few ways such as the adjustment of factors facilitating/enabling social interaction] (Level B Evidence) (p. 69).

» See full summary and quality ratings



American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Guidelines for Speech-Language Pathologists in Diagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders across the Life Span
Wetherby, A., Diehl, S., et al. (2006).
Rockville (MD): American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 46 pages.
Added: October 2012

Description
This guideline provides recommendations for screening, diagnosis, assessment and treatment of children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The target audience of this guideline is speech-language pathologists.

Recommendations
"SLPs [...] play an important role as advocates for individuals with ASD in promoting social communication skills that lead to greater independence in home, school, work, and community environments and greater participation in social networks" (p. 32).

» See full summary and quality ratings



Ministries of Health and Education (New Zealand)

New Zealand Autism Spectrum Disorder Guideline
Ministries of Health and Education. (2008).
Ministry of Health and Education (New Zealand), 312 pages.
Added: October 2012

Description
This guideline provides recommendations for identification, diagnosis, ongoing assessment, and access to interventions and services for children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in New Zealand. The target audience of this guideline is primary care practitioners, education professionals, policy makers, funders, parents, carers, specialists and any others who make provisions for individuals with ASD.

  • Level A recommendations are supported by good evidence.

  • Level B recommendations are supported by fair evidence.

  • Level C recommendations are supported by expert opinion.

  • Level I indicates that there was insufficient evidence to make a recommendation.

  • Good practice point recommendations are made by the guideline developers in the absence of evidence.

Recommendations

  • "School staff should receive professional learning and development in modifying the learning, physical and social environments to support the child" (Grade C Evidence) (p. 187). 

  • "Support and training should be provided to education professionals to develop peer-mediated strategies for social development" (Good Practice Point) (p. 189).

» See full summary and quality ratings



National Cancer Institute

Long-Term Follow-up Guidelines for Survivors of Childhood, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancers, Version 3.0
Children’s Oncology Group. (2008).
Arcadia, CA: Children’s Oncology Group, 222 pages.
Added: October 2012

Description
This guideline provides information and recommendations pertaining to therapeutic agents, potential late effects, risk factors, screening and evaluation, counseling, and referral for conditions or exposures as a result of pediatric cancer. Several recommendations relevant to audiological screening and evaluation and speech-language pathology referral are included in chemotherapy, radiology, and neurosurgery sections.

Recommendations
In regards to patients exposed to chemotherapy-antimetabolites and/or radiation (potential impact to brain/cranium), or who have undergone neurosurgery,  "refer patients with neurocognitive deficits to [a] school liaison in [the] community or cancer center (psychologist, social worker, school counselor) to facilitate acquisition of educational resources and/or social skills training" (p. 22).

» See full summary and quality ratings



Evidence-Based Systematic Reviews
Parent Implemented Early Intervention for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review
McConachie, H., & Diggle, T. (2007).
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 13(1), 120-129.

This review meets the criteria for a high-quality evidence-based systematic review.
Added: October 2012

Description
This is a review of comparative studies pertaining to parent-mediated or parent-implemented interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Conclusions
Findings suggest that parent-implemented training can improve social communication skills in children with autism. However, the authors state that results should be reviewed with caution due to methodological concerns with included studies and limited amount of evidence found (p. 120).

» See full summary and quality ratings



Social Skills Development in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Review of the Intervention Research
Williams White, S., Keonig, K., et al. (2007).
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(10), 1858-1868.

This review meets the criteria for a high-quality evidence-based systematic review.
Added: October 2012

Description
This is a review of published studies and unpublished dissertations exploring the state of the evidence for social skills training interventions for school-age children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in order to determine future research directions.

Conclusions
Although empirical support for this approach is incomplete, group-based social skills training may be a useful intervention for children with ASD. Promising teaching strategies for social skills training include teaching social scripts, modeling and role-play, differential reinforcement, peer involvement, multiple trainers, parent involvement, practice in natural environments, fostering self-awareness, errorless teaching, and defining concrete social rules.

» See full summary and quality ratings



Training Parents to Implement Communication Interventions for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): A Systematic Review
Lang, R., Machalicek, W., et al. (2009).
Evidence-Based Communication Assessment & Intervention, 3(3), 174 - 190.
Added: October 2012

Description
This is a systematic review of peer-reviewed studies investigating parent-implemented communication interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Interventions taught to parents included expectant waiting with imitating/animating, enhanced milieu teaching, pivotal response training, Natural Language Paradigm, and Early Start Denver Model.

Conclusions

  • "Every study [...] reported improvement in some aspect of child communication.  Specific child target behaviors included: increased spontaneous verbalizations or vocalization, joint attention, picture card use, appropriate interactions, imitation, attentiveness, and overall expressive and receptive language" (p. 186).

  • "Each of the studies reported parents' ability to implement communication interventions with fidelity following training, and the resultant interventions improved communication for children with ASD" (p. 187).

  • The overall literature base for this topic is considered limited and additional research is warranted.

» See full summary and quality ratings



Social Story Interventions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Meta-Analysis
Kokina, A., & Kern, L. (2010).
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(7), 812-826.
Added: October 2012

Description
This is a meta-analysis of single-subject research that investigated the use of Social Stories™ and the impact of a set of moderator variables on intervention outcomes, including social  and communication skills, in participants with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

Conclusions

  • "Studies that used target children as their own [Social Stories™] intervention agents were substantially more effective than those that were run by adults (i.e., teachers, reasearchers, or parents)" (p. 823).

  • Implementation of Social Stories™by natural intervention agents (i.e., teachers or students) resulted in more pronounced intervention effects than implementation by researchers" (p. 823). 

» See full summary and quality ratings



A Meta-Analysis of Peer-Mediated Interventions for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Zhang, J., & Wheeler, J. J. (2011).
Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 46(1), 62-77.
Added: October 2012

Description
This is a meta-analysis of single-subject design studies that investigated peer-mediated interventions for promoting social interactions in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Conclusions
"Further categorical comparisons suggest that these interventions were more effective in enhancing social responses in younger boys, when older male siblings served as interventionists, when the interventions took place in the home, when peer modeling was used, and when consideration was given to maintenance and generalization across participants, behaviors and activities, and in involving collaboration among all researchers, peers/siblings, school staff, and parents/families" (p. 71).

» See full summary and quality ratings



Video Modeling for Individuals with Autism: A Review of Model Types and Effects
McCoy, K., & Hermansen, E. (2007).
Education and Treatment of Children, 30(4), 183-213.
Added: October 2012

Description
This is a review of research studies in peer-reviewed journals that provided data on video modeling for individuals with autism implemented from a variety of perspectives (i.e., adults, peers, self, point-of-view, and mixed).  Social skills outcomes were reported.

Conclusions

  • "Studies utilizing adults as models demonstrated effectiveness in enhancing play skills, perspective taking skills, conversation skills, purchasing skills, and generative spelling skills of participants."

  • "Studies utilizing peers as models demonstrated effectiveness in enhancing and generalizing language skills for successful social situations including play and independent living skills."

  • "The data found in this literature review strongly suggest that adults, peers, self, or visual point-of-view as models in video modeling intervention can be used to produce positive results for individuals with autism."

  • "Based on the literature in this review, at this time, the models with the most significant impact seem to be self and peers."

» See full summary and quality ratings



Social Skills Interventions for Children with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders
Schreiber, C. (2011).
Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 13(1), 49-62.
Added: October 2012

Description
This is a review of studies that investigated social skills interventions used with children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASD).

Conclusions
"It would seem, according to the reviewed research, that an adult-facilitated, semistructured environment at the beginning, with fading scaffolding, might prove to be effective" (p. 59).

» See full summary and quality ratings



Clinical Expertise/Expert Opinion

Consensus Guidelines
The Children’s & Women’s Health Centre of British Columbia (Canada)

Autistic Disorders: What Can Physicians Do?
Ho, H., & Smith, D. (2001).
BC Medical Journal, 43(5), 272-76.
Added: October 2012

Description
This guideline provides recommendations for the diagnosis and assessment of autism spectrum disorder/pervasive developmental disorder. The target audience of this guideline is physicians.

Recommendations
“Screening [of areas such as language and social skills] by a community speech/language pathologist helps to identify the extent of the problem” (Community Assessment).

» See full summary and quality ratings



National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Inc.

Adapting Your Practice: Treatment and Recommendations for Homeless Children with Otitis Media
Bernie, K., Creaven, B. K., et al. (2008).
Nashville (TN): Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians' Network, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Inc., 29 pages.
Added: October 2012

Description
This guideline provides recommendations for the treatment of homeless children with otitis media (OM). The primary audience for these guidelines is primary care clinicians; however, several recommendations are relevant to the field of speech-language pathology or audiology.

Recommendations
"Many homeless children have delayed social and verbal skills, which make it difficult to assess for speech delays. Refer to [a] speech therapist as needed." (p. 13).

» See full summary and quality ratings



Department for Education and Skills; Department of Health (United Kingdom)

Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Good Practice Guidance
Autism Working Group (2002).
Nottingham (United Kingdom): DfES Publications, DfES/597/2002, 17 pages.
Added: October 2012

Description
This guideline provides recommendations for assessment and treatment of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United Kingdom. The target audience of this guideline is healthcare providers involved in the management of children with ASD, including speech-language pathologists.

Recommendations

  • The appointed "staff member has responsibility to check whether the child is experiencing difficulties, in either curriculum access or understanding rules and social expectations of the school" (p. 96).

  • "There is an ongoing monitoring of children's access to the curriculum, and social activities, involving the child's mentor where they have one" (p. 100).

» See full summary and quality ratings



Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council; Ohio Department of Health; Monarch Services

Service Guidelines for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder/ Pervasive Developmental Disorder (ASD/PDD): Birth through Twenty-One
Autism Task Force. [2003].
(OH): Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, 105 pages.
Added: October 2012

Description
This guideline is intended to help families and professionals in assessing, treating, and developing educational and community transition programs for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from birth to 21. The target audience of this guideline includes families, educators, medical professionals, and other service providers.

Recommendations
"Evaluation is necessary by a speech/language pathologist with expertise in assessing children with ASD/PDD, even in a child with apparently normal speech, in part to examine social and pragmatic skills" (p. 14).

» See full summary and quality ratings



Client/Patient/Caregiver Perspectives

Using Telepractice in Parent Training in Early Autism
Baharav, E., & Reiser, C. (2010).
Telemedicine and e-Health, 16(6), 727-31.
Added: October 2012

Description
This study compares traditional speech therapy administered twice a week to an alternative service delivery model in which speech therapy is delivered once a week in a traditional clinical setting and once a week by parents at home and remotely supervised by a speech-language pathologist for children with autism spectrum disorder.

Conclusions
"Parent questionnaires indicated mostly positive findings regarding the level of comfort using the technology and the perceived benefits of this approach [on their child's communication and interaction skills], with some reservations regarding preference for telepractice sessions at home versus clinical sessions" (p. 731). They also indicated that the telepractice sessions were as valuable as sessions delivered by the clinician directly, and that they would recommend the telepractice model to other parents.

» Access the document



Pilot Study of a Parent Training Program for Young Children with Autism: The PLAY Project Home Consultation Program
Solomon, R., Necheles, J., et al. (2007).
Autism: The International Journal of Research & Practice, 11(3), 205-224.
Added: October 2012

Description
This study investigated a training program for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder that follows a DIR/Floortime model. This program is called The PLAY Project.

Conclusions
Of the families that completed the satisfaction survey, most were very satisfied with The PLAY Project, a social-pragmatic intervention.  Parents who responded that they were “somewhat satisfied” with the program commonly suggested that The PLAY Project did not provide enough services.

» Access the document






Use the image below to navigate to other sections of the Social Communication Disorders in School-Age Children evidence map.