"The Nadia Verrall Memorial Research Grant is coordinated by Speech Pathology Australia in the memory of Nadia Verrall who practised in paediatric speech pathology in Western Australia and New South Wales. The outcomes of the research must enhance the clinical practice of speech pathologists working with children with communication disorders and their families. The annual research grant is to a maximum of $5,000 each year." - Speech Pathology Australia
The 2014 Australian Government Senate Inquiry into speech pathology services highlighted “the long waiting lists in the public system” (Commonwealth of Australia, 2014, p. 5). This is problematic for children with speech and language difficulties, as they miss the benefits of early intervention. Until the availability of speech pathology services meet demand, it is important to provide appropriate home-based interim care while children are waiting. This randomised controlled trial (RCT; commenced in March 2018) aims to evaluate whether access to an evidence-based speech pathology website (active waiting condition) compared with passive waiting (control condition) improves: (a) children’s speech, language, emergent literacy, and participation outcomes, and (b) parents’ experiences of waiting (levels of empowerment, concern, and satisfaction). Up to 99 children aged 3-6 years and their parents aim to be recruited at a Victorian community health centre. Baseline assessments (stage 2) will be undertaken at referral and follow-up assessments (stage 4) will be undertaken after 6 months. One-way ANCOVA analyses will be undertaken to measure change between the two groups across various measures of child and parent outcomes. Groups will be compared on a ‘per protocol’ and ‘intention to treat’ basis. This study is also part of a larger multi-site RCT.