The working practices and clinical experiences of paediatric speech and language therapists: a national UK survey

Pring, T., Flood, E., Dodd, B. & Joffe, V. (2012). The working practices and clinical experiences of paediatric speech and language therapists: a national UK survey. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 47(6), pp. 696-708. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-6984.2012.00177.x

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Abstract

Background: The majority of speech and language therapists (SLTs) work with children who have speech, language and communication needs. There is limited information about their working practices and clinical experience and their views of how changes to healthcare may impact upon their practice.

Aims: To investigate the working practices and professional experiences of paediatric SLTs working in the UK through an online survey.

Methods & Procedures: The survey was conducted online using Survey Monkey. Therapists were alerted to the survey through the Bulletin of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and by e-mails to national special interest groups.

Outcomes & Results: A total of 516 clinicians completed the survey. A large majority worked in the National Health Service (NHS). A varied pattern of working was revealed. Most worked in several settings and saw a range of clients. A typical clinician spends less than one-quarter of their time giving direct therapy and more than one-quarter training parents and other professionals. Nearly half of respondents felt that their time could be better used. Too little time for direct therapy and the time required for administration emerged as their principal concerns. Most clinicians have specialist knowledge of particular client groups and spend more time with them than do non-specialists. Nevertheless, clients are more likely to be treated by a therapist who does not claim to have specialist knowledge of their condition than by one who does. The only clients for whom this is not the case are those with dysphagia. Eighty per cent of respondents felt that proposed changes to the NHS would not benefit the children they treat and there was widespread concern about cuts and the effects of general practitioner commissioning. Despite this, a large majority expected to remain speech and language therapists 5 years from now.

Conclusions & Implications : This survey provides an overview of the working practices of paediatric speech and language therapists. Its findings have significant implications for training and workforce development in the profession.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science & Technology, Social Sciences, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology, Linguistics, Rehabilitation, AUDIOLOGY & SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY, LINGUISTICS, REHABILITATION, SCI, REHABILITATION, SSCI, survey, clinical practice, speech and language therapist, clinical experience, paediatric speech, language and communication needs, CHILDREN, IMPAIRMENT, DIFFICULTIES, PREVALENCE, DISORDERS
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Language & Communication Science
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/3338

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