DLD research at SBT – and summer student placements

Speech Therapist Helps The Girl How To Pronounce The Sounds

SBT is passionate about providing the best support possible to children with developmental language disorder (DLD). We also want to ensure that children receive evidence-based therapy, which is why we are also committed to supporting research.

Two SBT SLTs, Michelle and Rochelle, are both conducting studies for their Master’s Degrees at the moment, with the support of SBT, and we have just started a collaboration with Abbie Moran, an SLT and PhD student at City University.

Abbie’s PhD study is investigating the impact of DLD on working memory development in six to 10 year olds. She is hoping to recruit 80 children with DLD and to compare them to 80 typically developing children. So far, she has tested around 30 children with DLD, but is hoping to recruit more – something with which SBT is helping her.

Abbie had a student placement with SBT seven years ago and it’s great to be working with her again.

But this summer we’ll be welcoming some ‘new Abbies’, as we’ll be taking a group of UCL undergraduates on placement. They’ll get to practise assessment, observation, Year 6 transition and discharge, review and discharge, creating therapy target outcomes, and working with resources.

We’re looking forward to hosting them – and maybe helping them with their own PhDs in seven years’ time!

How SBT helps people with developmental language disorder (DLD)

Speech Therapist Helps The Girl How To Pronounce The Sounds

Here at SBT, we are very passionate about providing the best support possible to children with developmental language disorder (DLD). DLD is a condition that affects 7.6% of children – two pupils in every class of 30 – in which they find it difficult to understand or use language, with no outlined cause and no other biomedical condition present, such as a hearing impairment or autism spectrum disorder.

Without a specialist understanding, DLD can be mistaken for autism spectrum disorder, as they both result in delays to the development of language and difficulties in understanding higher-level language such as idioms. It can also commonly be mistaken for behavioural difficulties, because children with DLD often find it difficult to follow instructions and to respond appropriately to questions.

These and other difficulties in identifying DLD can significantly affect a child’s experiences at school, as well as the building of healthy relationships with their peers and staff.

The role of Speech and Language Therapists

Speech and Language Therapists are trained to assess, diagnose and provide bespoke support for children with DLD. We:

  • Provide targeted activities and programmes to develop their language skills.
  • Create learning strategies to support their language needs.
  • Educate and empower teaching staff to tailor their own language and the curriculum for them.
  • Provide helpful strategies for families to best support their children’s language development.

What SBT does

  • Follow best practice: We follow regular and current evidence-based guidance from professional bodies such as the RCSLT.
  • Research and evaluation: We conduct personal clinical research and clinical evaluation regarding assessments and interventions with children with DLD.
  • Clinical supervision: We participate in clinical supervisions, where we discuss cases involving DLD.
  • Share best practice: We regularly hold staff meetings where we raise and discuss general enquiries about language disorders. We also share best practice with one another.
  • Training: We frequently receive in-house and external training, to develop and refine the support we can give children with DLD.
  • Campaign: We encourage active involvement in campaigns such as #devlangdis and #DLDandMe to help spread awareness of DLD.

SBT is committed to providing positive outcomes for children with DLD and their families. Knowledge is power! We will therefore continue to use our ever-growing, combined knowledge to support this area of our work.