Parents’ expectations and experiences of child-focused speech-language therapy in New Zealand.
Thesis DisciplineSpeech and Language Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Background: Parental expectations for their children’s speech-language therapy are similar to their expectations for any form of intervention for their children, be that medical, educational, or social. This includes an expectation and need for effective communication between parents and professionals. As well as exploring parental expectations and experiences of speech-language therapy, this study also aimed to discover factors that may help or hinder the meeting of parents’ expectations. This study also aimed to better understand parents’ experiences in the light of family centred care.
Method: Seventeen parents completed a survey regarding parental expectations and experiences of their child’s speech-language therapy. Four of these parents also participated in in-depth interviews. Results from the survey were analysed using descriptive statistics and the interview data along with three survey questions were transcribed and analysed thematically.
Results: Five overarching themes emerged from the data, namely expectations, working as a team, funding, important aspects of therapy, and considerations. Key findings from the survey included parents’ expectations of being involved in the planning and therapy process of their child’s speech-language therapy and parents’ expectations of progress.
Discussion: Communication between parents and speech-language therapists is important to allow not only for articulation of parental expectations but also to ensure that the therapy is tailored appropriately to allow for the most effective use of the service. Encouraging parents and highlighting progress are important aspects of speech-language therapists’ role, in addition to providing therapy in a manner that benefits both the child and the family.
Conclusion: The small sample size involved in this study limits generalisation of results. However, consideration of these findings in speech-language therapy practices, may enhance therapy for children who experience difficulty developing communication.