Background: Although economic evaluation has been widely recognized as a key feature of both health services and educational research, for many years there has been a paucity of such studies relevant to services for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), making the application of economic arguments to the development of services difficult. Aims: The study has two aims, namely to review systematically the cost-effectiveness literature related to services for children with SLCN and to highlight key issues that need to be included in future economic effectiveness studies. Methods & Procedures: A comprehensive search of the international literature for the last 30 years was completed and the studies were evaluated against the ‘gold standard’ criteria developed by Drummond and colleagues in 1996 and 2005. Outcomes & Results: Five studies met the review inclusion criteria. All focused on young (2–11 years) children with SLCN and most compared clinic-based and parent-administered interventions. The studies provide variable levels of detail on the key elements needed, but few provided sufficient details of costs to draw comparisons across studies. Only two studies attempted to bring together costs and effectiveness data. Conclusions & Implications: The studies point to the importance of home-based and indirect intervention and, in many cases, emphasize the parental perspective. There is a need for intervention studies to include a cost dimension based on readily comparable methods of establishing unit costs and for greater use to be made of cost-effectiveness analysis more generally.
|International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
|Published - 1 Jan 2012