Exploring the Views, Perspectives, and Current Practices of Educational Speech-Language Pathologists and Psychologists in Canada: How Childhood Developmental Language Disorders Are Identified and Diagnosed

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Abstract

Purpose: Across Canada, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and educational psychologists (EPs) work in schools to identify and diagnose childhood learning difficulties, including language disorders; however, both professional groups use different terms to identify and diagnose them. Using the term developmental language disorder (DLD), developed by the CATALISE consortium, would provide consistency across fields. To effectively implement the use of DLD, it is crucial to understand how EPs and SLPs currently identify childhood language disorders and to investigate the potential impact of a practice change in this area. Method: The study conducted 13 moderated focus groups and one one-on one semi structured interview across six Canadian provinces in English and French. Results: We found some social and structural barriers that impact SLPs’ and EPs’ current practice of identifying and diagnosing language disorders generally (e.g., the belief that children should not be labeled “too early,” institutions that prioritize certain professional diagnoses over others, board policies that do not allocate funds for language disorders, professionals’ reticence to convey difficult information such as a diagnosis to collaborators) and DLD specifically (e.g., different professional taxonomies, lack of familiarity with or uncertainty about the label, not recognized as a condition in schools that may or may not even identify language disorder as a category of exceptionality). Nevertheless, the focus groups also revealed the extent to which DLD could be useful in their current practice. Conclusion: Both EPs and SLPs acknowledged the importance of working together; therefore, DLD could inspire more collaborative practice between SLPs and EPs around language disorders.

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APA

Archibald, L. M. D., & Kuyvenhoven, C. (2024). Exploring the Views, Perspectives, and Current Practices of Educational Speech-Language Pathologists and Psychologists in Canada: How Childhood Developmental Language Disorders Are Identified and Diagnosed. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 33(3), 1443–1455. https://doi.org/10.1044/2024_AJSLP-23-00170

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