Children with social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties (SEBD) often exhibit speech, language, and communication needs (SLCN) as well. Clinicians and educators who work with these children have the challenge of identifying which type of treatments will best serve the needs of these special children. SEBD has been shown to be linked to communication deficits, but this relationship has not been fully explored. Gender, social conditions, intelligence, and relationship styles are factors that contribute to both SLCN and SEBD. Most children with these problems are not identified until they enter school, making the correlation between them more convoluted. For instance, executive function deficits may not be discovered until children enter school and exhibit symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Other children may live with negative psychological and physical conditions such as abuse or neglect that can cause the children to stifle their communication, resulting in communication problems later on.
The most common type of treatment for SEBD is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In a recent analysis of existing research, James Law of the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University in the UK looked to see whether CBT was ever combined with communication therapy for children. He also studied the research on CBT outcomes in children with Asperger’s, autism, and anxiety to determine whether the therapy had any positive impact on communication skills. For his research, Law examined 19 separate studies that included data from 148 children with SEBD and SLCN.
Although Law did not isolate one particular CBT approach that would be most beneficial for these children, he did discover that variation in communication enhancement techniques had a positive impact. Specifically, more formal techniques appeared to help the children with autism spectrum issues the most, and naturalistic and educational approaches were identified as effective methods for children with mild communication and behavior problems. In conclusion, Law added, “The potential overlap between SLCN and SEBD needs to be widely recognized by practitioners, and the implications for practice of this overlap explored more fully.”
Law, J., Plunkett, C. C., Stringer, H. (2012). Communication interventions and their impact on behaviour in the young child: A systematic review. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 28.1, 7-23.
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.