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Title: Developmental communication difficulties in adulthood : life outcomes, family experiences, and transitions at post-16
Author: Ansorge, Lydia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 6385
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis presents an exploration of outcomes for pupils and ex-pupils of a residential special school for severe and complex developmental speech and language difficulties (SLD), and the views and experiences of their families and the education staff who work with them. The thesis is divided into three parts. Part one presents a study that recruited seventeen ex-pupils of the school and three of their non-language impaired siblings to map the stability of their language, literacy and nonverbal abilities over the life span. Only three ex-pupils resolved their language difficulties. In the others there was evidence for a relationship between severity and pervasiveness of SLD. Literacy difficulties were the most persistent type of difficulty in adulthood. Four ex-pupils also experienced a drop in nonverbal ability with age. The siblings outperformed the ex-pupils on psychometric testing. Part two presents two studies of the psychosocial outcomes and life experiences of the ex-pupil and sibling cohort described in part one. The first study used semi-structured interviews to document their psychosocial outcomes which were wide ranging. Academic and employment outcomes were more strongly related to persisting levels of SLD than friendships and relationships. Independent living proved to be an area of difficulty and issues with financial management were the biggest barrier to this. The second study documented the life experiences of the parents of 8 ex-pupils of the school and the three siblings. Raising a child with SLD proved to be challenging on three levels: children’s care was demanding; families needed to fight for access to support, and limited knowledge of SLD in the public domain. Part two also found a strong preference for special schooling over mainstream education; support outside the school environment often had negative experiences attached to it. Part three presents a prospective study of post-16 pupils before leaving full time education. It reports the views, experiences and expectations of fifteen pupils attending the school’s further education (FE) department, five of these pupils’ parents and eight learning support assistants (LSA). Leaving FE was associated with challenges for the future, such as gaining employment. A clear demand for ongoing support for adults with persisting SLD at post-16 and beyond was also found.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available