NAPLIC Conference 2018
Published 30th April, 2018
The theme for the 2018 NAPLIC conference was ‘Developmental Language Disorder: Making change happen.’
It started Jean Gross summarising the findings of the Bercow 10 year review which included startling findings about the discrepancies between professionals and parents about how well families are listened to.
Mandy Grist and Mary Hartshorne, from ICAN, who have been working on the Bercow 10-year review, addressed the question of what next and showed the array of resources available at www.bercow10yearson.com to support practitioners to become activists.
After morning break we heard Megan Dixon from Aspirer Research School on how evidence is used across her trust and the impact this has had on outcomes. The ‘can-do’ approach was inspiring. Following on was Tom Martell from the Educational Endowment Foundation outlining how interventions we really want to work may not always achieve positive outcomes when researched. A new report from EEF on Early Years is out in May and emphasises oral language.
In a first for a NAPLIC conference we heard from young people, adults and families affected by Developmental Language Disorder. In a structured Q and A session attendees heard about the struggles and achievements of a very brave group of people. Maxine Burns from ICAN presented on the innovative ‘Talk about Talk secondary,’ which is a training package co-delivered by young people with DLD. This session brought home the need for wider understanding of DLD, but also continued support in secondary schools and into adulthood.
In the final session of the day there was a series of presentations from schools and services outlining good practice. The session started in Early Years with Cheryl Dyer from Surrey outlining how her service had got involved in research into the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme. For the primary phase it was Mary Coleman from Falkirk in Scotland talking about whole school improvement including a breadth of interventions and collaborative practice. These two themes continued with Sarah Smith from Worestershire and Julia Husband from Hanley Castle High School talking about how they work together to develop whole school practice. The session was closed by Rachel Keen from Kent presenting on how the Balanced System has been applied in sixty schools across Kent to improve practice for SLCN.
President of NAPLIC, Professor Courtenay Norbury ended the day with ‘reasons to be cheerful.’ These were:
- There are lots of dedicated professionals working with Developmental Language Disorder
- Awareness of DLD is rising
- The evidence base is growing
- This evidence base is being used more widely
I would add that the latter three points all need further development.
NAPLIC 2018 was an exhilarating learning event. The conference next year is on May 11th 2019 and will explore DLD more fully.