A survey of UK Special School Speech & Language Therapists (SLT) and school staff regarding the use of mealtime mats to provide eating and drinking guidelines

Morgan, S., Drury, C., Thomas, M. & Harding, C. (2018). A survey of UK Special School Speech & Language Therapists (SLT) and school staff regarding the use of mealtime mats to provide eating and drinking guidelines. Poster presented at the UK Swallowing Research Group 2018 conference, 1-2 Feb 2018, London, UK.

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Abstract

Purpose: A survey of UK Special School Speech & Language Therapists (SLT) and school staff regarding the use of mealtime mats to provide eating and drinking guidelines.

Method: Two questionnaires were developed to collect experiences of creating and using mealtime mats within UK special schools including benefits and disadvantages of this method, training provided and improvement suggestions. SLTs (11) completed an online survey and education staff members of a UK special school (25) completed a paper questionnaire. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics and reviewing the free text comments.

Results: SLTs reported usage of mealtime mats with many utilising similar formats and areas of advice covered. Some aspects received less focus e.g. communication and environment. SLTs reported difficulties in continuing to provide mealtime mats, despite being positive about their usage, due to increased service pressures. This was often without active evaluation of the effectiveness of mealtime mats. Only 2 school staff members reported using mealtime mat and they had a different name. Other school staff were aware of the mats but did not support children with complex dysphagia. However they reported that a mealtime mat resource for children with autism would be useful.

Conclusions: This survey has shown that mealtime mats are being utilised within UK special schools and are viewed positively. However there is variety in usage in terms of name, format, content and evaluation. Research to determine the effectiveness of mealtime mats in special schools and other settings, including how to implement them, would be beneficial.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Language & Communication Science
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/19053

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