Last updated on November 2018

Very Preterm Children With Language Delay and Parent Intervention

Brief description of study

In studies of children born at term, language delay at the age of 2 years exhibits a spontaneously favourable course in 30 to 50% by the age of 3 years. In France, there is no recommendation for speech therapy before the age of 3 years. However, for term-born children, parent-implemented language interventions conducted during the third year of life have already shown a positive short-term effect on language skills. In these interventions, a skilled interventionist, generally a speech therapist, teaches parents how to use specific language strategies with their child.

The investigators' hypothesis is that such parent-implemented interventions would be particularly appropriate at short and medium term for the improvement of linguistic performances in very preterm children, a population with a high prevalence of early language delay. Currently, there is an opportunity to partly nest an intervention trial in a national prospective population-based cohort of very preterm children, the EPIPAGE (Etude EPIdmiologique sur les Petits Ages GEstationnels) 2 cohort, which has included 5 000 babies born alive in France in 2011. This situation provides considerable methodological advantages.

Detailed Study Description

EPILANG is an open randomized controlled study, in which the final assessment of the children (endpoint) will be conducted by professionals blinded to the treatment group.

Some eligible children will first be screened using the parental questionnaire at 24 months corrected age (CA) of the EPIPAGE 2 cohort. Children with language delay, defined as no words combination and/or less than 30 words from Mac Arthur CDI - short version, and free of exclusion criteria, will be invited to an inclusion visit at 30 months CA, if they are in an EPIPAGE 2 centre participating in the EPILANG trial.

During the inclusion visit, inclusion criteria and the absence of exclusion criteria will be checked, data useful for the study will be collected, and the informed consent of the parents collected. The child will then be randomized either in the control or the intervention group if language delay is still present, defined by a score < 10th percentile at the Mac Arthur CDI. Twins, if both included, will be included in the same group, otherwise only the twin with a language delay will be randomized.

The intervention is organized in 15 weekly one-hour sessions with the child, one or both parents and a speech therapist recruited and trained for the study. Maximum duration for the intervention will be 6 months per child, because some sessions can be missed or delayed. Parents' participation will be recorded.

The usual "wait-and-see" attitude will be provided to the control group, together with basic advice to enhance the child's language at home.

In both groups, audition will be checked by an otolaryngology specialist, following professional recommendations, and care will be provided in case of hearing deficit, if appropriate.

At 3 years CA, a neuropsychological evaluation will be performed by trained psychologists for both groups, blinded for the allocation group. Behaviour will be evaluated with a validated parental questionnaire.

The analysis will be according to intention to treat.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02042235

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Centre Hospitalier

Arras, France
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Recruitment Status: Open

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