Better Communication Action Plan (BCRP)

The BCRP (Better Communication Research Programme) is a landmark programme of research part of the Better Communication Action Plan, the government's response to the Bercow Review 2008, was published on December 27th 2012.

There are 6 key areas as identified by TCT:

  • Identification; there remain huge challenges at the universal level of identifying SLCN, with continued concerns of how the label should be interpreted with consideration that the label SLCN is too generic when describing more profound language issues.
  • Support; children with language needs require support at all levels, in the classroom as well as from specialists. Children have made it clear what works for them- other people's behaviour and understanding being paramount.
  • Outcomes; children with SLCN do less well in school than peers of similar ability. Measurable outcomes, need to be at the heart of the system.
  • Workforce development; there continues to be an ongoing need to raise the understanding of SLCN, particularly for teachers in changing classroom practice.
  • Commissioning; health and education need to work together to deliver needs- led local services. This needs to be developed from universal through to specialist services. Too many children are "falling through gaps in the system".
  • Research; needs to combine expertise of practitioners, parents, service providers and researchers to fill the evidence gaps.

Links can be found at:

Category: Research

Better Communication Research Programme

The Better Communications Research Programme is part of the government's response to the Bercow Review of provision for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs, published in July 2008.

The government published its response Better Communication, the speech, language and communications needs (SLCN) action plan in December 2008, which committed to a series of initiatives to improve services for children and young people with SLCN culminating in the National Year of Speech, Language and Communication in 2011.

Category: Research

Dyslexia: A language learning impairment

Published by Margaret J. Snowling, June 2014, Journal of the British Academy

Abstract: Without the ability to read fluently with comprehension there is a downward spiral of poor educational achievement and career prospects. Dyslexia is therefore a major problem for society and a key question is whether it is possible to intervene early to ameliorate its impact. Studies following the development of children at family-risk of dyslexia reveal that it is associated with language delays and speech difficulties in the pre-school years before reading instruction begins. Literacy outcomes for children depend not only on the risk factors that predispose to reading difficulties but also on protective factors which mitigate the risk. Together current evidence places dyslexia on a continuum with other language learning impairments.

Download article from the British Academy website

Category: Research

Healthcare costs associated with language difficulties up to 9 years of age: Australian population-based study

Published on 17 May 2014,

Intervention studies for children at risk of dyslexia have typically been delivered preschool, and show short-term effects on letter knowledge and phoneme awareness, with little transfer to literacy.

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Category: Research

Is SLI a useful label - Slides for a talk at Specific Language Impairment SIG in Scotland - Study Day

Published on 16 May 2014,

Presentation by eminent speaker and researcher in the field of SLI - Professor Dorothy Bishop.

View presentation

Category: Research

Language and Socioeconomic Disadvantage: From Research to Practice

Roy, P., Chiat, S. & Dodd, B. (2014). Language and Socioeconomic Disadvantage: From Research to Practice. London, UK: City University London

Children from low socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds are at disproportionate risk of language delay. Previous research has suggested that basic language skills affected in language impairment may not be affected by SES. These skills may therefore help to distinguish children with language impairment from those with poor language due to limitations of their language environment. The distinction is important since children with language impairment require different types of intervention from disadvantaged children whose inherent capacity for language is intact. In this Briefing Paper, we report findings from our research, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, which aimed to tease apart external and internal factors involved in language delay in socioeconomically disadvantaged preschoolers, using measures known to be more or less socially biased.

Our samples comprised 208 preschoolers from Low SES neighbourhoods and 168 from Mid-high SES neighbourhoods aged 3½-5 years, with English as their first language. The youngest age group (3½-4) were followed up 18 months later. An age-matched Clinic sample of 160 children acted as an additional comparison group for the Low SES sample. Our findings reveal the extent to which very basic, early developing language and speech skills may be affected in preschool children from socio-economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The outcomes of our study inform interventions and underscore the need for very early intervention prior to school entry. Furthermore, they highlight a need for continuing support throughout the school years if children are to access education effectively.

Read more and download briefing paper at City University London's website

Category: Research

Language Impairment From 4 to 12 Years: Prediction and Etiology

Published by Marianna E. Hayiou-Thomas, Philip S. Dale, and Robert Plomin on June 2014, Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research,

The authors of this article examined the etiology of developmental language impairment (LI) at 4 and 12 years of age, as well as the relationship between the 2.

Read article on the JSLHR website


Category: Research

Pragmatics abilities in narrative production: a cross-disorder comparison

Published May 2014,

This study aimed to disentangle contributions of socio-pragmatic and structural language deficits to narrative competence by comparing the narratives of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; n = 25), non-autistic children with language impairments (LI; n = 23), and children with typical development (TD; n = 27).

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Category: Research

Reading and language intervention for children at risk of dyslexia: a randomised controlled trial

Published on 6 May 2014,

This study aimed to quantify the non-hospital healthcare costs associated with language difficulties within two nationally representative samples of children.

View and download study

Category: Research
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