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Training SLPs to recognize early communicative behaviors in children with physical disabilities: Which techniques work?

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Aim: To examine the effectiveness of different instructional techniques for an online training, designed to teach early intervention speech-language pathologists (EI SLPs) to recognize gaze, with or without gestures and vocalizations, as a communicative signal, when produced by young children with severe speech and physical impairments (SSPI).

Method: To date, twenty-one SLPs across six states were randomly assigned to one of three training conditions. Conditions were designed to differentially engage subjects in recognizing gaze, with or without gestures and vocalizations, as a communicative behavior, using a case study video and feedback. Outcome measures included pre-/posttest assessment of clinician knowledge and post-training application of trained skills.

Results: Data analysis is ongoing. Preliminary results suggest that SLP knowledge of early communication in this population increased across all groups. SLP skill in identifying gaze behaviors produced by young children with SSPI differed as a function of training conditions.

Conclusion: Online training that targets specific clinical skills for EI SLPs who treat young children with SSPI can be an effective approach to train a large number of SLPs across a range of geographic regions. This study offers new data, which documents the relative effectiveness of three different instructional strategies within one such online training. The results of this study will help in the design of training for scaling-up research.

Author(s):

Julie Feuerstein    
University of Washington
United States

Lesley Olswang    
University of Washington
United States

Patricia Dowden    
University of Washington
United States

 

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