Family-centered services for children with ASD and limited speech: Experiences of parents and SLPs

time to talk graph

Mandak, K.. & Light, J. (2017, November). Family-centered services for children with ASD & limited speech: The perspectives of parents & SLPs. Poster presentation at the Annual Conference of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), Los Angeles, CA.

Mandak & Light (2017) MPOC Study handout (pdf)

Abstract: This study investigated the degree of family-centeredness and the identification of family-centered behaviors from the perspectives of parents of children with autism and limited speech and SLPs who served this population. 99 parents and 211 SLPs were asked to rate their perceptions of family-centered services. Findings revealed that SLPs perceived family-centered services as being implemented more often than families perceived. Clinical implications and future research directions are discussed in order to improve family-centered services

Key points

Despite the call for a family-centered approach, current practices do not always reflect this ideal or best practice.

  • Parents have repeatedly reported the challenges of family involvement.
  • Studies reveal that professional beliefs often do not match their practices with regards to family-centered services.

The results of this study provide evidence that

  • while almost all SLPS reported that they were helping parents feel competent most of the time, less than half the parents agreed with this statement
  • while almost all SLPS perceived that they were treating parents as individuals, only half the parents agreed with this statement
  • while almost all SLPS perceived that they were treating parents as equals, only half the parents agreed with this statement
  • while almost all SLPS felt that they ensured that parents had a chance to say what was important to them, less than half the parents felt that SLPs provided enough time to talk

This study revealed that parents and SLPs differed in their views on the degree to which family-centered services were being implemented.

Based on this discrepancy of perspectives, there are many areas that require improvement:

  • enabling families
  • sharing general and specific information
  • communicating respect
  • providing a supportive environment

These domains can provide guidance for in-service and pre-service SLP in terms of strategies and skills to improve family-centered services.

Improvements must be made in order to families and professionals to reap the benefits associated with family-centeredness, including increased parent satisfaction, decreased parent stress, and most importantly, improved child outcomes.

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