Speech-Language Pathologist and Parent Perspectives on Speech-Language Pathology Services for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Speech and Hearing Sciences


Health Professions


© Hammill Institute on Disabilities 2020. Many speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are underprepared to serve children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), despite a growing need and increased expectation for ASD expertise. To understand this practice gap, 60 SLPs and 26 parents of children with ASDs were surveyed regarding SLP knowledge and competency. Of concern was that only about 50% of SLPs correctly identified ASD defining criteria. Respondents rated eight SLP practices as Important to Very Important, but SLPs reported being only Somewhat Competent to Competent. The parents’ rating of SLP competency was significantly lower than parental ratings of importance for one educational practice, use of nonstandardized assessment and observational methods. Also, parents rated the development of the Individualized Education Program significantly higher in importance than SLPs rated it. Findings varied for ASD specialty subgroups. Results support socially valid improvements in preparation for SLPs on the frontlines of assessment, treatment, and development of health and educational systems for children with ASDs.

Publication Title

Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities

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