McLeod, S. & Baker, E. (2014, in press May). Speech-language pathologists’ practices regarding assessment, analysis, target selection and intervention for children with speech sound disorders. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics.
A survey of 231 Australian speech-language pathologists (SLPs) was undertaken to describe practices regarding assessment, analysis, target selection, intervention and service delivery for children with speech sound disorders (SSD). The participants typically worked in private practice, education, or community health settings and 67.6% had a waiting list for services. For each child, most SLPs spent 10-40 minutes in pre-assessment activities, 30-60 minutes undertaking face-to-face assessments and 30-60 minutes completing paperwork after assessments. During an assessment SLPs typically conducted a parent interview, single word speech sampling (most commonly using the Articulation Survey), collected a connected speech sample, and used informal tests. They also determined children’s stimulability and estimated intelligibility. With multilingual children, informal assessment procedures and English-only tests were commonly used and SLPs relied on family members or interpreters to assist. Common analysis techniques included determination of phonological processes, substitutions-omissions-distortions-additions (SODA), and phonetic inventory. Participants placed high priority on selecting target sounds that were stimulable, early developing, and in error across all word positions and 60.3% felt very confident or confident selecting an appropriate intervention approach. Eight intervention approaches were frequently used: auditory discrimination, minimal pairs, cued articulation, phonological awareness, traditional articulation therapy, auditory bombardment, Nuffield Centre Dyspraxia Programme, and core vocabulary. Children typically received individual therapy with an SLP in a clinic setting. Parents often observed and participated in sessions and SLPs typically included siblings and grandparents in intervention sessions. Parent training and home programs were more frequently used than group therapy. Two-thirds kept up-to-date by reading journal articles monthly or every 6 months. There were many similarities with previously reported practices for children with SSD in the US, UK, and the Netherlands, with some (but not all) practices aligning with current research evidence.