Does group intervention make a difference for the speech sound development of Dutch pre-school children with Developmental Language Disorder?

Int J Speech Lang Pathol. 2020 Dec;22(6):696-707. doi: 10.1080/17549507.2020.1842496.


Purpose: In the Netherlands, children (2;0-5;0) with (presumed) severe DLD attend special treatment groups. In these groups, speech sound disorders (SSDs) are usually treated in individual therapy. The aim of this study is to examine the efficacy of an added phonological group intervention.

Method: Parallel to individual therapy, these children received a group intervention from trained childcare professionals. A within-subject multiple-baseline design was chosen to compare children's development before and after the intervention. Children tested at all six time points were included in the intervention study (n = 31, age range: 28-46 months).

Result: Of the children attending the selected groups, 77% have an SSD. The participating children demonstrate with a severe SSD based on their caregivers' report of their intelligibility at baseline. Their phonological production skills increased from a mean Percentage Consonants Correct (PCC) of 42-57% after the intervention compared to no significant increase during the measurements before the intervention.

Conclusion: We conclude that childcare professionals without a specific background in speech-language pathology can effectively be trained to deliver a phonological group intervention to children with (presumed) severe DLD and SSD. Moreover, these children make a clinically relevant increase in their phonological production skills due to the phonological group intervention.

Keywords: Developmental Language Disorder; Speech Sound Disorder; early intervention; group intervention; phonological development; speech sound development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Language Development Disorders*
  • Netherlands
  • Phonetics
  • Speech Sound Disorder* / therapy