Evaluating ‘Enhancing Pragmatic LAnguage skills for Young children with Social communication impairment’ (E-PLAYS): A feasibility study

Social communication impairment (SCI) affects around 7.5% of children. Children with SCI struggle with communication in social contexts and experience high levels of mental health disorders. Our aim is to assess the feasibility of evaluating ‘Enhancing Pragmatic Language skills for Young children with social communication impairment’ (E-PLAYS), a computer-based intervention. A positive outcome from this feasibility study will result in an application to NIHR for a full-scale trial.


Feasibility cluster-randomised controlled trial of E-PLAYS intervention. Children with SCD will be randomised to an intervention group who will receive E-PLAYS, versus a control group receiving treatment as usual.


The following feasibility objectives will be addressed:

  1. Recruitment
  2. Acceptability
  3. Fidelity
  4. Suitability of Language and Communication Outcome Measures
  5. Suitability of Peer Relation and Mental Health Outcome Measure
  6. Suitability of Outcome Measures of Generalisation
  7. Suitability of Cost-Effectiveness Measures
  8. Identification of full-scale sample size

Outcome measures

Blinded measures of language and communication will be taken together with parent-completed measures of health service use and teacher-completed measures of peer relations and communication.

Process evaluation

As well as measuring outcomes, we will examine the processes involved in delivery of E-PLAYS in an NHS setting, so as to understand challenges involved in implementation. We will use qualitative methods to investigate in-depth the views of the children, SLTs and teaching assistants involved.

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Funder: NIHR (RfPB)
Start Date:  August 2017 
End Date:  TBC

Trials and Statistics Research in the Department of Health Sciences