James Law is Professor of Speech and Language Science at Newcastle University in the UK He originally studied Linguistics at the University of East Anglia before qualifying and then practising as a speech and language therapist in the UK for 10 years. He has been in receipt of research grant funding of in the order of £4.0m and has published over 200 peer reviewed and other publications. He was one of the Principal Investigators of the Department for Education funded Better Communication Research Programme and is now one of the Chief Investigators on the Australian NHMRC Centre for Excellence in Child Language. He is the Chair of the management Committee of the Cost Action research network (IS1306) entitled “Enhancing children's oral language skills across Europe and beyond: a collaboration focusing on interventions for children with difficulties learning their first language".
He has written about a range of different communication disorders but his main focus has been on children, looking at the early identification and treatment of children with language disorders. In 2003 he published the first Cochrane Review in the field. Recently he has focused on both public and mental health issues, editing a special edition of Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties entitled "Language, Communication and the child with emotional and behavioural difficulties: implications for practice". With colleagues he has also carried out a number of analyses of the UK birth cohorts publishing in a wide range of journals, most recently in Child development. He has also been involved in policy discussions related to children’s language development specifically a consultation on language and social disadvantage to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Speech and Language in the UK’s House of Commons, two reports on the same subject for the government “think tank” Centre for Social Justice and two for the international children’s charity Save the Children. Finally, he is a member of the evidence committee of the Early Intervention Foundation, an organisation set up by the government in England to promote evidence based practice in services for children.
Intervention to promote child language development: What we do know, what we don’t and where we need to be going next
This presentation will start by summarising the key findings about the published evidence underpinning interventions for different aspects of children’s speech and language development. It will then go on to what we still need to find out especially about the mechanisms underpinning these interventions and about what the implications are for practice and policy, highlighting where we need to focus next. The talk will draw on evidence from variety of sources, including the recent update of the 2003 Cochrane review, recent reviews for the UK what works centres and the reviews and questionnaire completed by members of COST Action IS1406, a network of researchers focusing on language intervention research from 35 countries across Europe and beyond.