Oral language competence in incarcerated young offenders : links with offending severity

Snow, Pamela C. and Powell, Martine B. 2011, Oral language competence in incarcerated young offenders : links with offending severity, International journal of speech-language pathology, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. 480-489, doi: 10.3109/17549507.2011.578661.

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Title Oral language competence in incarcerated young offenders : links with offending severity
Author(s) Snow, Pamela C.
Powell, Martine B.ORCID iD for Powell, Martine B. orcid.org/0000-0001-5092-1308
Journal name International journal of speech-language pathology
Volume number 13
Issue number 6
Start page 480
End page 489
Total pages 10
Publisher Informa Healthcare
Place of publication London, U. K.
Publication date 2011-12
ISSN 1754-9507
Keyword(s) young offenders
oral language competence
developmental risks
Summary Previous research in Australia and overseas has shown that young offenders serving community-based orders are at high-risk for undetected but clinically significant oral language difficulties. However, this phenomenon has received little attention in incarcerated samples, and links with offending severity, mental health, and other markers of early risk have not previously been systemically examined. A cross-sectional examination of 100 young offenders (mean age 19.03 years) completing custodial sentences in Victoria, Australia was conducted. A range of standardized oral language, IQ, mental health, and offending severity measures was employed. Forty-six per cent of participants were classified as language impaired (LI), and these were compared with the non-LI sub-group on background and offending variables. When the sub-group with high scores on a measure of offending severity was compared with those with (relatively) lower offending scores, significant differences on a range of language measures were identified. A range of early risk indicators (such as placement in Out of Home Care) was also examined with respect to language impairment in this high-risk group. Results are discussed with respect to policy and practice pertaining to early intervention for vulnerable children, and implications for service delivery within the justice system. In particular, emphasis is placed on the need to closely examine the oral language skills of children who struggle with the transition to literacy and then display behavioural difficulties in the classroom. Once a young person is engaged with youth justice services, a high index of suspicion should be maintained with respect to their oral language skills; for example, in relation to forensic interviewing and the ability to benefit from verbally mediated interventions.
Language eng
DOI 10.3109/17549507.2011.578661
Field of Research 170104 Forensic Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, The Speech Pathology Association of Australia Limited
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30041534

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