You do not have JavaScript Enabled on this browser. Please enable it in order to use the full functionality of our website.

EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

The Cochrane Collaboration; the Nuffield Foundation UK
Speech and Language Therapy Interventions for Children with Primary Speech and Language Delay or Disorder

Law, J., Garrett, Z., et al. (2003).
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3).

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question Yes
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 randomized controlled trials of speech-language interventions for children or adolescents with primary speech and language delay/disorder.

Question(s) Addressed:

Question not specifically stated.

Population: Children or adolescents with a diagnosis of primary speech and language delay/disorder.

Intervention/Assessment: Any type of intervention designed to improve an area of speech or language functioning concerning either expressive or receptive phonology, expressive or receptive vocabulary, or expressive or receptive syntax.

Number of Studies Included: 25

Years Included: Through 2002



  • Treatment
    • Language
      • Expressive Language - Evidence from this review suggests some support for the effectiveness of speech and language therapy for children with expressive phonological and vocabulary difficulties. The evidence also suggests that therapy for expressive syntax difficulties may be effective when children do not also have severe receptive language difficulties, however additional research is necessary.
      • Receptive Language - There is a small evidence base for children with receptive language disorders; however limited research suggests that the effect of speech and language therapy is much smaller than for other client groups.
      • Peer Models - There is support from the evidence for the use of normal language peers as language models in intervention for children with language impairment.
  • Service Delivery
    • Dosage
      • Limited evidence suggests that interventions lasting longer than eight weeks may have been more effective than interventions lasting less than eight weeks, however additional research is necessary.
    • Provider
      • Findings from studies that directly compared administrators of intervention showed no significant differences between trained parents and clinicians.
    • Format
      • No statistically significant differences were noted in studies comparing group and individual interventions. These studies were mainly limited to investigations of phonological interventions; therefore conclusions may not generalize to expressive or receptive language interventions.

Keywords: Speech Disorders, Language Disorders

Access the Review


The data in this review were also published in two other journal articles:

Law, J. (2004). "The Implications of Different Approaches to Evaluating Intervention: Evidence from the Study of Language Delay/Disorder." Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 56(4): 199-219.

Law, J., Z. Garrett, et al. (2004). "The Efficacy of Treatment for Children with Developmental Speech and Language Delay/Disorder: A Meta-Analysis." Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research , 47(4): 924-43.

Added to Compendium: August 2009

ASHA Corporate Partners