LuCiD recently played host to a meeting of organisations working to improve language and communication in the early years. The meeting was to discuss a draft of the Foundations for Life:What Works to Support Parent Child Interaction in the Early Years report, with a specific focus on content relating to promoting language and communication.
The report assesses 75 early intervention programmes aimed at improving child outcomes through positive parent child interactions in the early years. It gives early years teachers, health visitors, and health and education authorities the information they need to decide how best to support parents in raising their children.
The meeting was attended by the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), The Communication Trust, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, 4Children, Prof James Law, Newcastle University and Prof Julian Pine, Prof Anna Theakston, Prof Caroline Rowland and Helen Allwood from LuCiD. Together, we provided feedback to a draft of Chapter 6: Interventions that support children’s early cognitive and language development. This chapter studied the evidence for 20 language and cognitive development programmes. (Profs Caroline Rowland and Anna Theakston have written a blog about the report with a neat summary of the evidence for these programmes). It found two with good evidence, seven that are promising, and one that seemed to have no effect at all. This isn't many, but is a good starting point. Other interventions may turn out to be effective, but at the moment we don’t have enough evidence to know for certain. We and other researchers must now work on improving the evidence base to give practitioners a wider range of robust, effective programmes to choose from.