American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

The Cochrane Collaboration; Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists UK
Speech and Language Therapy to Improve the Communication Skills of Children with Cerebral Palsy

Pennington, L., Goldbart, J., et al. (2003).
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews(3).

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question No
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes
Quality assessments are reproducible Yes

Description: This is a review of controlled studies investigating speech and language interventions to improve communication skills for children with cerebral palsy.

Question(s) Addressed:

Question not specifically stated.

Population: Any child under 20 years of age with any communication disorder associated with cerebral palsy.

Intervention/Assessment: Any therapy aimed at improving communication skills, whether provided individually or in groups, or in the child’s home, school or health service settings, except where it is provided as part of a holistic approach (e.g. conductive education).

Number of Studies Included: 12

Years Included: 1966 - 2002

Findings:

Conclusions:

  • Treatment
    • Speech
      • General Findings
        • "Firm evidence of the positive effects of [speech and language therapy] SLT for children with cerebral palsy has not been demonstrated... However, positive trends in communication change were shown" (p. 2).
        • "[I]t is not possible to conclude at the present time that speech and language therapy focusing on children with cerebral palsy or their communication partners is more effective than no intervention at all. However, no evidence has been found of any harmful effects of speech and language therapy for children with cerebral palsy and their families, and therapy has not been shown to be ineffective" (p. 12).
        • While speech and language therapy appears to improve communication skills, further research is warranted at this time.
      • Conversational Partners
        • "[I]t is not possible to conclude at the present time that speech and language therapy focusing on children with cerebral palsy or their communication partners is more effective than no intervention at all. However, no evidence has been found of any harmful effects of speech and language therapy for children with cerebral palsy and their families, and therapy has not been shown to be ineffective" (p. 12).

Keywords: Cerebral Palsy

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Added to Compendium: March 2012

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