Evaluating early language interventions: going from practice to research and back

5th February 2018 : 13:00 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Applied Linguistics

Speaker: Dr Dea Nielsen , University of York

Location: Seminar Room G

Convener: Hamish Chalmers

Applied Linguistics Lunchtime Seminar Series Event

Early language skills are foundational to children’s later language, social, and educational success. While there are large individual differences in the trajectory of children’s early language development, there is also a consistent trend for children from low SES backgrounds to have weak early language skills. Better Start Bradford (BSB) is a large public health initiative funded by the Big Lottery which aims to implement early life interventions in low SES areas in Bradford, including interventions for children’s early language. BSB also includes the Innovation Hub, a group of multidisciplinary academics who work to monitor and evaluate these interventions. This talk will discuss the ongoing evaluations of several language interventions within the BSB programme, including a feasibility RCT of a home-based parent intervention for children with identified language weaknesses.  An approach to embedding academic evaluation into existing community services will be discussed, along with lessons learned on creating a reciprocal relationship between research and practice. In conclusion, this work considers the feasibility and value of this approach for identifying best practice in early life interventions for children.