2nd Management Committee Meeting, Newcastle University, 29th-30th October 2015


The 2nd Management Committee Meeting was held in Newcastle on the 29th and 30th October 2015 and was central in furthering the overall objectives of COST Action IS1406. The meeting was hosted by Newcastle University, and welcomed over 50 MC Members, Substitutes, and Observers from 28 COST Countries and International Partner Countries out of the 36 total participating countries in the Action.
This meeting combined presentations and discussions on the overall Action aims and components with sequential and parallel sessions dedicated to each of the three Working Groups. This combination ensured sufficient time to progress the aims of the individual Working Groups whilst fostering a cohesive and collaborative atmosphere for the Action as a whole.

Day One - 29th October

Registration opened on the day from 8.30am. The meeting was officially opened by the Chair of the Action, Prof. James Law. Prof. Law gave an introductory overview to the Action and an outline of this 2nd Management Committee Meeting programme.

The first morning of this meeting then followed with all participants listening to 45-minute presentations from the individual Working Group leaders and deputies, outlining the objectives, timelines and priorities of each Working Group. The morning concluded with an open discussion on the definition and scope of the terms “language impairment” and “intervention” with the aim of establishing consistency in relation to these terms which will become pivotal to the future direction of the Action.

In the afternoon, the Working Groups divided into parallel sessions. Working Group 1, led by David Saldana and Carol-Anne Murphy, heard the following presentations:

-          Cristina McKean – Building early sentences therapy: a usage-based approach to language intervention

-          Sara Ferman – The effect of different learning conditions on the learning of an artificial morphological rule

-          Rob Zwitserlood – The MetaTaal programme: metalinguistic and multimodal intervention for older school-age children with LI

-          Arve Asbjørnsen – Statistical learning as a model for language acquisition and therapy

-          Marja Laasonen – HelSLI: The Helsinki Longitudinal Study

-          Carol-Anne Murphy – Overview of the presentations on intervention theories and approaches, leading a group discussion on the implications for the WG work plan.

Working Groups 2 and 3 worked in combination for this session, and focused upon national surveys on intervention. Representatives of this group discussed existing national reviews of services and heard presentations on the reviews of practice in the following countries:

-          Finland – Sari Kunnari

-          Turkey – Seyhun Topbas

-          Iceland – Elin Thordardottir

-          The United Kingdom – Sue Roulstone

-          Portugal – Clara Coutinho

-          South Africa – Frenette Southwood

-          Ireland – Rena Lyons


The first day of the Meeting was concluded by a networking dinner for all in attendance.  

Day Two - 30th October

During the morning of the 30th October, each of the three Working Groups met in parallel and continued their discussions.

Formal Management Committee Meeting 2-3.30pm

During this meeting the Management Committee were updated on the status of the Action, and approved the participation of 2 new Near Neighbour Countries (Lebanon and Albania). Future Action Instruments were discussed, including possible locations for the 3rd MC Meeting, pending confirmation of budget in the weeks following this meeting. Action Participants were encouraged to submit applications for the January Training School in Systematic Reviewing and for the first round of STSMs. There was detailed discussion on future dissemination planning. Although there are no outputs to disseminate at this early stage in the action, there will be a significant focus on promoting the Action itself in the coming months. The Action website is in development, and Action participants were encouraged to promote the Action through press and social media in multiple languages to broaden reach. The need to engage with parents, children and practitioners was identified and discussed.

Each Working Group leader then outlined the progress of each group:

WG1 – The Linguistic and Psychological Underpinning of Interventions for LI:

This group have the overall aim of identifying the respective contributions of language knowledge and skills, working-memory and other relevant cognitive and wider processing skills to intervention for children with LI. It aims to relate theories of underlying learning mechanisms associated with LI to specific intervention practices. In Year 1 the group hoped to establish a database of relevant documents for systematic review (identifying a list of intervention models, paradigms and practices) and determine a list of appropriate search terms, both international and national. At this meeting the group progressed these aims by agreeing on the main guidelines for systematic reviewing, identifying their key terms, databases and questions and produced guidelines on accounting for these national variations. The aims for this first year have almost been completed, with further discussions required to establish a mechanism for a joint database to share data within the group. A steering group to progress the systematic group outputs has been established. The timeline and workplan for Year 2, during which the main search will be carried out, was discussed.

WG2 – The Delivery of Intervention for Children with Language Impairment across Childhood:

Working group 2 is led by Ellen Gerrits (Netherlands) and Cristina McKean (United Kingdom) and aims to understand the nature of the delivery of interventions for children with LI from 0 to 18 years in the COST member countries, or the ‘who, where, how and why’ of interventions. The group will report a state-of-the art of service delivery across Europe, and more understanding of factors that lead to differences between countries such as influence of contextual factors such as funding and governmental policies on clinical choices. The group has developed an initial survey to question the current service delivery for children with language impairment and to gather contact information of all professional bodies. This survey was send to all MC members and completed by 20 participating countries. A summary of the results was presented and yielded differences and similarities between countries in professionals involved, delivery models, types of education, and funding. At this second meeting it was decided to sharpen the definitions of language impairment and intervention and clarify and specify certain questions. This will result in new questionnaire that will send to all MC members and presented at the third meeting in April. In addition new action were agreed upon such as discussion of case studies to structure key themes and further explore these themes in focus groups. The output of this work package will be an interactive map of Europe, a report on best practices in service delivery, and a review of literature on evidence-based choices in service delivery models. The first results will be presented at the IALP World Congress in Dublin, August 2016. The outputs will be linked to that of WG1 but with a focus upon practice and policy recommendations targeting practitioners and service commissioners. 

WG3 – The Social and Cultural Context of Intervention for Children with Language Impairment:

This group are primarily concerned with the social and cultural issues relating to interventions for children with language impairments and aim to determine the institutional and socio-cultural factors that impact on the interventions provided to children with LI. The group will survey the current situation across Europe, review literature regarding the evidence of diversity in each participating country and aim to produce a document mapping services for children with LI across Europe, within the context of social and cultural values. To date, the group have been in contact with CPLOL to establish if previous relevant surveys have been conducted by them; and distributed the first questionnaire to the Action MC. This questionnaire yielded results from 20 countries, and was the basis for much of the discussion at the meeting. It provided provisional data on language groups, policy for bi/multilingual children with LI, and the provision of services for LI. The group agreed a workplan to be accomplished by the 3rd MC Meeting in April 2016. This will focus on revising their questions to make them more explicit, and separating issues into two categories (Social and Cultural). They also aim to pilot a study of WG3 countries to gauge public awareness and knowledge of LI and plan for focus groups.

The meeting was closed at 3.30pm. 

Last modified: Tue, 22 Mar 2016 15:08:20 GMT