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Metacognition in speech and language therapy for children with social communication disorders

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Metacognition is concerned with the ability to simultaneously consider the demands of a task, the strategies being used and whether or not progress is being made. In typical populations, metacognition has been found to support self-monitoring and generalisation (Dignath & Büttner 2008). Children with developmental language disorders (DLDs) are known to benefit from speech and language therapy (SLT) that includes metacognition, but the nature of metacognition in SLT or how it operates in therapy delivery is relatively unexamined (Law et al 2008). A qualitative analysis of video data of therapy from a manualised SLT intervention as delivered within a randomised controlled trial, the Social Communication Intervention Project (SCIP) (Adams et al. 2012) was completed. Eight hours of video data were purposively sampled to be representative of the SCIP cohort and intervention content. Existing research on metacognition as a construct in learning (e.g. Flavell 1979; Schneider, 2010) provided a theoretical background for the analysis. Through cycles of iterative analysis, a preliminary list of key concepts in metacognition was developed into a Metacognitive Coding Framework (MCF). Thematic analysis revealed the presence of metacognition in the content and delivery of SCIP intervention. Metacognition was a feature of how children’s ability to monitor language, pragmatic and social interaction skills in themselves and other people was developed. Error detection was employed to teach problem-solving, that is, metacognitive skills of monitoring and control were an explicit feature of SCIP intervention. SCIP therapists were observed to change the task design and delivery to include a particular focus on self-monitoring as a distinct part of the therapy process. The finalised MCF and a model of how metacognition was found to be employed in the delivery of SCIP therapy to focus on self-monitoring are presented. References Adams, C., Lockton, E., Freed, J., Gaile, J., Earl, G., McBean, K., Law, J. (2012). The Social Communication Intervention Project: a randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of speech and language therapy for school-aged children who have pragmatic and social communication problems with or without autism spectrum disorders. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 47(3), 233-244. Dignath, C., & Büttner, G. (2008). Components of fostering self-regulated learning among students. A meta-analysis on intervention studies at primary and secondary school level. Metacognition and Learning, 3, 231-264. Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and Cognitive Monitoring: A new area of cognitive-developmental inquiry. American Psychologist, 34, 906-911. Law, J., Campbell, C., Roulstone, S., Adams, C., & Boyle, J. (2008). Mapping practice onto theory: the speech and language practitioner’s construction of receptive language impairment. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 43(3), 245-263. Schneider, W. (2010). Metacognition and Memory Development in Childhood and Adolescence. In H. Salatas Waters & W. Schneider (Eds.), Metacognition, Strategy Use and Instruction. New York: The Guildford Press.

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