SALTmusic - speech and language therapy & music practice: emerging findings from action research

Pitt, J. and Arculus, C. and Fox, S. (2017) SALTmusic - speech and language therapy & music practice: emerging findings from action research. In: Conference of the European Network of Music Educators and Researchers of Young Children 2017, 20-24 June 2017, Cambridge, UK.


This paper presents findings from an on-going action research project with speech and language therapists and early childhood music practitioners and children aged 24 to 36 months with communication difficulties and their parents/carers. This age is critical for increasing vocabulary and word use (Sharma and Cockerill, 2014) and presents a ripe moment for interventions that might improve the outlook for children prior to entering formal education settings. The informal, community-based, family music group activities offered by the resident music team at a children’s centre provided a means for overstretched speech and language services to engage with young children and their families in ways that had hitherto been less successful for them. There were many shared and similar practices found amongst the two teams that came to light from interdisciplinary practices that characterises the work of children’s centres. At the mid-point in this project this paper explores the evolution of a community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998) through working together on a programme of co-constructed SALTmusic sessions (Speech And Language Therapy and Music). The data collected for this project are both quantitative and qualitative. Qualitative, tentative findings will be reported here. New models of early childhood music education practice for young children with communication difficulties, as well as some preliminary indications of the benefits for children and families through this innovative collaboration will be outlined. These include: the benefits of music for children’s communication and expression; the impact of different environments on the children’s expressive behaviours; the community of practice and the growth of the partnership; strategies and activities that are emerging as a result of SALTmusic practice. Implications from this joint working project include models of work for speech and language therapists to integrate into their working practices with young children. Additionally early childhood music educators extend and deepen their knowledge and understanding of the most effective ways to work with music to improve young children’s communicative skills and self-expression at this critical stage of development. *** The full text of this paper is available open access as part of the conference proceedings at the Official URL given below. ***

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