My PhD research with young offenders, in Melbourne, Australia.
It is well-established that oral language skills are crucial for the development of literacy, social, and interpersonal skills.
Research (Australian and international) has shown that approximately 50-60% of male young offenders have a clinically significant, yet previously undetected oral language impairment (i.e. problems coping with the demands of everyday talking and listening tasks).
Language difficulties contribute substantially to a young person’s ability to engage with youth justice services and in turn to transition back into the community. Unfortunately, language difficulties are often unrecognised and may be misinterpreted as disinterest, rudeness, or poor engagement.
This applied research will evaluate the extent to which intensive, one-to-one speech pathology intervention produces improvements in the language skills of young people with language impairment. It is expected that the results from this research project will demonstrate the benefits of speech pathology intervention within a youth justice setting.
A mixed methods design will also be utilised to further characterise the communication skills and deficits of young offenders, and to understand their lived experience with regards to communication impairment.
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