Psychosocial Adversity in Early Childhood and Language and Literacy Skills in Adolescence: The Role of Speech-Language Pathology in Prevention, Policy, and Practice
journal contributionposted on 2021-04-12, 00:18 authored by Pamela SnowPamela Snow
Purpose This clinical focus article outlines key forms of childhood maltreatment (various types of abuse and neglect) and their co-occurrence with other developmental risk factors, such as parental poverty, living in crime-prone communities, and disrupted educational experiences, to focus on their implications for language and literacy skills in adolescence. Children exposed to psychosocial adversity early in life experience a range of poor outcomes in adolescence, relative to their typically developing peers, and language and literacy skills are particularly vulnerable skill sets in the face of this adversity. Conclusions The continuum from disrupted schooling to child protection and youth justice involvement is emphasized, and the expanding scope of practice for speech-language pathology at all stages of prevention, assessment, and intervention is outlined. Greater advocacy by speech-language pathologists is needed so that policy makers and practitioners in other service sectors have a better appreciation of the importance of language and literacy skills in early life.