What is it like to be an Adolescent with a Speech, Language and Communication Impairment (SLCI)?

Prof Doc Thesis

Gogna, Reena 2012. What is it like to be an Adolescent with a Speech, Language and Communication Impairment (SLCI)? Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.1887
AuthorsGogna, Reena
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This study explores the views and perspectives of adolescents with a speech, language and communication impairment (SLCI). With over a million children suffering from SLCI in the UK today it is more than ever necessary to unravel the mechanics of what many in the field refer to as the hidden disability. Whilst there is a wealth of research, evaluating the effectiveness of speech and language therapy, there is a paucity of data and analysis directly exploring the views of adolescents with an SLCI. This oversight must be addressed if researchers and practitioners are to work together to improve the wellbeing of young people with a speech and language impairment. This is particularly important for the adolescent age group as SLCIs act as a double burden at a transitional stage of physical and psychological development. With this in mind, this study aims to link the adolescents’ perspective on their impairment with their educational experiences and to highlight the key factors that promote their wellbeing. Embedded within a broad social-constructionist framework, this study devises a qualitative, interview-based approach to elicit the views of seven adolescents (five males and two females). The aim of this approach is to consolidate rich data on their world-views and perspectives which can then be analysed thematically. The focus of this approach will be their self-awareness, their perception of being included, and the role of their Speech and Language Centre (SLC –a specialist provision within their secondary school) in addressing their needs. Upon completion of the interviewing process and the thematic analysis, this study results in a total of nine key findings that (a) link adolescents’ perception of their impairment with their general sense of inclusion and wellbeing, and (b) demonstrate how those adolescents develop resiliency skills to cope in their mainstream environment. If anything, the findings underscore the importance of listening to young people’s ‘voices’ and of engaging directly with this vulnerable and under-represented age group. The researcher believes her own experience with living with a hearing impairment and her work in different school contexts gave her a privileged relationship with the adolescents interviewed and a broad perspective on SLCI. Whilst the study is small-scale and purely qualitative, precluding any broad generalisations, the researcher hopes that it will be a springboard for further research in the field and recommendations for practice.

KeywordsSpeech, Language and Communication Impairment; Hidden disability; Thematic analysis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.1887
Publication dates
PrintMay 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Apr 2013
Publisher's version
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