Watts Pappas, N., McAllister, L., & McLeod, S. (2015, in press October). Parental beliefs and experiences regarding involvement in intervention for their child with speech sound disorder. Child Language Teaching and Therapy.
Parental beliefs and experiences regarding involvement in speech intervention for their child with mild-moderate speech sound disorder (SSD) were explored using multiple, sequential interviews conducted during a course of treatment. Twenty-one interviews were conducted with seven parents of six children with SSD; (1) after their child’s initial assessment, (2) during intervention and (3) at the conclusion of an intervention block. Qualitative analysis of the interviews revealed several factors that influenced the parents’ beliefs and experiences. These included: (1) their motivation to do the right thing by their child; (2) their expectations of parent/professional roles; (3) their interactions with their child in the experience; (4) their interactions with the speech language therapist (SLT); and (5) the nature of the child’s difficulties. The parents in the study wanted to be involved in their child’s intervention but were reluctant to participate in intervention sessions. This preference appeared to be influenced by prior expectations of parent/professional roles and a belief that they would ‘interfere’ in the session. Additionally, whilst they appreciated being asked for their opinion regarding intervention goals and activities, the parents had a preference for the therapist to take the lead. Parental belief in the SLT as the expert influenced this preference, but the SLTs’ beliefs and practice may also have played a role. The less pervasive nature of the child’s difficulties influenced the form of service preferred by the parents. Most particularly, the parents were more eager to work with their child at home and had a more marked preference for intervention sessions with the SLT to focus on their child rather than their family than did parents of children with pervasive disabilities investigated in other studies. The findings of the study have implications for how therapists may best work with families of children with less pervasive difficulties in intervention.