An in-depth analysis of real and perceived barriers to speech and language program participation for children with speech and language delays : a question of barriers to service?
Sneyd, Elizabeth J.
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The current study investigated the effects that barriers (both real and perceived) had on participation and completion of speech and language programs for preschool children with communication delays. I compared 36 families of preschool children with an identified communication delay that have completed services (completers) to 13 families that have not completed services (non-completers) prescribed by Speech and Language professionals. Data findings reported were drawn from an interview with the mother, a speech and language assessment of the child, and an extensive package of measures completed by the mother. Children ranged in age from 32 to 71 mos. These data were collected as part of a project funded by the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Networks of Centres of Excellence. Findings suggest that completers and non-completers shared commonalities in a number of parenting characteristics but differed significantly in two areas. Mothers in the noncompleting group were more permissive and had lower maternal education than mothers in the completing families. From a systemic standpoint, families also differed in the number of perceived barriers to treatment experienced during their time with Speech Services Niagara. Mothers in the non-completing group experienced more perceived barriers to treatment than completing mothers. Specifically, these mothers perceived more stressors and obstacles that competed with treatment, perceived more treatment demands and they perceived the relevance of treatment as less important than the completing group. Despite this, the findings suggest that non-completing families were 100% satisfied with services. Contrary to predictions, there were no significant differences in child characterisfics and economic characteristics between completers and non-completers. The findings in this study are considered exploratory and tentative due to the small sample size.