The ability to speak, listen, read and write is so common that we do not realize the impact it can have when these abilities do not come naturally. The ability to communicate is essential for interpersonal contact and participation in society. What is the best way to help children and adults with communication disabilities? Which therapies and methods are effective? This is what the Speech and Language Therapy research group looks at.
Around 7% of all children have difficulty speaking and understanding language. A language development disorder may disrupt the interaction between parent and child, and it leads to learning problems, limits success at school, causes miscommunication and difficulty initiating and maintaining friendships and relationships. An acquired language disorder in adults caused by an acquired brain injury (ABI) can have a significant negative impact on quality of life. Suddenly, it is difficult to communication with your partner and children. Your ability to communicate independently is limited. It is often no longer possible to work. A language disorder leads to dependency and contact with healthcare professionals because it is unclear exactly what someone means.
Participation through communication
The mission of the Speech and Language Therapy research group is to optimize self-reliance and self-management among those living with communication disabilities. It does this by innovating new strategies and techniques in prevention, cure and care.
The research group develops knowledge and tools for multidisciplinary care for patients with a communication disorder. The perspective of the individual patient is decisive in this. The aim of the research is to optimize the social participation and communication skills of the patient. The research carried out by the group can be divided into three lines:
- Research line: Prevention
- Research line: Evidence Effective Care
- Research Priority Area: Healthcare and Technology
Students from the Faculty of Healthcare, the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Communication and Journalism all benefit from the work done by this research group. The knowledge that we generate is translated into the syllabus of - for example - the programmes in Speech Therapy, Nursing, Digital Communication and Multimedia Design. Interdisciplinary research and development programmes take place. Researchers from the research group also teach as part of the programme in Speech Science, the Master’s programme in Clinical Health Sciences at Utrecht University and students can participate in research internship projects and in projects in the graduation phase.
The research group develops and shares knowledge about interventions with professionals who work in institutions, hospitals, education, or in their own private practice. For example, there is close cooperation with the Royal Auris Group, the NSDSK, independent speech therapists and the professional association the NVLF. There is also cooperation and consultation with different patient groups. The Speech and Language Therapy research group is also working as a research partner with Auris speech therapists to treat children with speech / language development problems and to substantiate this treatment scientifically. This will be extended with a network of professionals and organizations around patients with an acquired brain injury. In all our research, the patient's perspective is key, so that the findings help professionals to provide care that is tailored to the needs of the patient.