Talking Takes Off: A system-wide approach to prioritise children’s speech, language and communication needs

Online Publication Date:
March 14, 2022
Publication Status:
Published Article MUSE Link:
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**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) 16.4. All rights reserved.** ABSTRACT Background: ‘Talking Takes Off’ is a local government programme designed to improve speech, language and communication outcomes in the early years, as supported by a system-wide approach. The overall aims of this study were to assess the progress that the programme made in its first year, especially in relation to its integration with the wider practice and its impact on the various stakeholders. Objectives: 1) To investigate whether the training and resources offered to the workforce were effectively integrated into practice during its first year. 2)To explore professionals’ and parents’ views and experiences of the programme regarding their prioritisation, knowledge and skills concerning speech, language and communication needs. Methods: A mixed methods design was employed. A pre and post training survey was sent out to the workforce (n = 398), followed by a three month follow up survey (n = 54). Semi-structured interviews with strategic and political leaders (n = 4), early years practitioners (n=8), and parents (n = 6) were conducted and analysed using Thematic and Framework analysis. Findings: A prioritisation of speech, language and communication development was demonstrated, as were enhanced levels of confidence and skills regarding the identification and support of needs. Conclusion: The findings are promising and suggest that Talking Takes Off has started to make a positive impact on parents’ and professionals’ priorities, knowledge and skills. Moving forward, Talking Takes Off need to sustain a strong foundation for continuing to implement their system-wide approach, addressing speech, language and communication needs across their capture area.