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ELCISS aims to enhance language and communication in secondary school children with primary language and communication impairment through narrative/storytelling and vocabulary enrichment.

Research design

A randomised control intervention study was employed. A pre-selected group of year 7 students identified with language impairments were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups. Students with scores of level 4c or below in the English Standard Assessment Test given to all year 6 students were recruited at the initial screening point.

The randomisation of students to groups took place individually within each participating school. This ensured that each school had students participating in each one of the three interventions. The four therapy groups were Group A (narrative intervention at time E); Group B (vocabulary enrichment intervention at time E); Group C (combination of narrative and vocabulary enrichment for the same period of time at time E) and Group D.

Group D acted as an untreated control but received treatment at time G. They were randomly assigned to one of the three treatments (A, B or C). This design allowed each therapy group and the combined therapy group to be compared with the no (delayed) therapy group. In addition a baseline period of no therapy was included after the initial assessment. As a result the progress of each group could be compared when they were receiving and not receiving therapy (a further assessment occurred at the end of the baseline). (See table 1 for design of study)

Table 1: Design of Study

Initial screening of children with year 6 SATS English scores of level 4c and below Assessment 1 for all groups: identification of children with language impairments. No therapy (6 months) Baseline Assessment 2 for all groups. Pre-therapy assessment for groups A, B and C
for groups A, B and C (18 sessions over 6 weeks) Assessment 3 for all groups. Post therapy assessment for groups A, B, C and pre-therapy assessment for group D Therapy for group D (delayed treatment group) Assessment 4: Follow up assessment for groups A, B, C and Post therapy assessment for group D