Interventions for Pre-School Children with Co-Occurring Phonological Speech Sound Disorder and Expressive Language Difficulties

A Scoping Review Protocol

  • Lucy Rodgers Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sam Harding Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit
  • Rachel Rees University College London
  • Michael T. Clarke University College London
Keywords: scoping review, protocol, speech, language, intervention, pre-school


Background: Pre-school children with co-occurring phonological speech sound disorder and expressive language difficulties are more likely to have ongoing communication and literacy needs compared to children with these difficulties in isolation. However, to date there has been no systematic or scoping review of the literature specific to interventions for this frequently seen and high-risk group.

Aims: The objective of this paper is to provide a rigorous and detailed protocol for a scoping review of interventions, which target both phonological speech sound disorder and expressive language difficulties in pre-school children with primary speech, language and communication needs. The protocol includes details on the development of a search strategy, as well as the trial of an extraction tool.

Methods/Design: Included studies must aim to concurrently improve both speech production and expressive language. Children within included studies must be aged between 2:0 and 5:11 years and have communication needs with no known cause. In accordance with the Joanna Briggs institute scoping review methods guidelines, an initial search of the Ovid Emcare and Ovid Medline databases was conducted. Following this a final search strategy for these databases were produced. A draft extraction form was developed by the first author; this was then trialed by two authors on four articles each.

Discussion: Following the systematic development of an initial search strategy and extraction form, a scoping review of this topic can take place. The development of a rigorous scoping review protocol is essential in enhancing the transparency and reliability of the subsequent review. A pre-developed search strategy and trialing of an extraction form is a fundamental part of this process.

Study Protocols