Speech and language therapists’ approaches to communication intervention with children and adults with profound and multiple learning disability? (short summary)

Speech and language

The authors looked into how speech and language therapists (SLTs) made decisions about communication interventions they used with people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).

They surveyed a number of SLTs who worked with people with PMLD about what sort of intervention approaches they used and on what basis these choices were made.

They found that there is a very limited evidence base for communication interventions with this population, but even where some evidence exists this was not often the primary reason SLTs elected to use a particular strategy. Most often choices were based on client factors, mainly the benefits to the person with PMLD rather than on clinical expertise or research evidence. However more evidence is needed as to whether the perceived benefits can be attributed to the interventions.

The paper concludes that approaches reported as being used by SLTs working with people with PMLD and those evaluated in published research do not match. Further research is needed to evaluate commonly used intervention approaches. In-service training is also needed to raise SLTs awareness of the evidence base to support certain approaches.

Things you may want to look into:

Profound and multiple learning difficulties

Developing communication in adults with profound and multiple learning difficulties using objects of reference

Implementing AAC with children with profound and multiple learning disabilities: a study in rationale underpinning intervention

Micro-switch programmes for students with multiple disabilities and minimal motor behaviour: Assessing response acquisition and choice

Added to site May 2015