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A systematic review of interventions for multilingual preschoolers with speech and language difficulties

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Purpose: There is a shortage of information on evidence-based interventions for supporting young multilingual children. The purpose of this review was to identify interventions that have been evaluated with preschool-age multilingual children with a speech and/or language disorder or who are at risk of poor speech, language, literacy, and/or educational outcomes. Method: This review considered speech, language, and early literacy interventions evaluated with preschool-age multilingual children with a speech and/or language disorder or who have been identified as being at risk of language difficulties (PROSPERO ID: 165892). The following electronic databases were searched: EBSCO (CINAHL Plus, ERIC, PsycINFO, Medline, Education) and Linguistics, Language, and Behavior Abstracts. Data were extracted describing article, participant, methodological, and intervention variables, and effect sizes. The Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) standards for evidence-based practice were used to examine the quality of studies. Results: Fifty-six relevant studies were identified in 52 articles and these studies described 4,551 participants who had speech sound disorder (six articles), developmental language disorder (11 articles), or were considered to be at risk (36 articles). The interventions targeted speech production (seven studies), language (45 studies), and early literacy (11 studies) skills. Most studies reported positive effects. Only 15 studies met all quality indicators specified by the CEC (2014) and these described 18 interventions targeting language and literacy skills. The only intervention with sufficient evidence to be considered an evidence-based practice was Nuestros Niños [Our Children] for children’s early literacy and phonological awareness skills. Conclusions: A number of high-quality studies exist that describe speech, language and/or literacy interventions for preschool-age multilingual children with a speech and/or language disorder, or who have been identified as being at risk of language difficulties. However, there remains limited evidence for specific interventions as to their ability to inform evidence-based practices. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Literature Review
Country:
United States

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