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The trauma & attachment gap in SLP (Rupert & Bartlett, 2021)

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journal contribution
posted on 12.11.2021, 01:50 by Anna C. Rupert, Diane E. Bartlett
Purpose: Previous research demonstrates the relevance of childhood trauma and attachment to communication development. This study aimed to understand speech-language pathology (SLP) practitioners’ knowledge, beliefs, training, and current practices regarding developmental trauma and attachment.
Method: An online survey was administered to SLP practitioners (N = 97) who work primarily with children from birth to age 6 years in Canada. Quantitative (univariate and bivariate) analysis was performed with SPSS. Qualitative responses were coded by two reviewers using thematic analysis to identify key themes.
Results: SLP practitioners are working with children who have experienced trauma and adapt their practice when they are aware of this history. Practitioners also indicated, however, that they lack training with respect to trauma and attachment, their understanding of the concepts is narrow, they do not have standardized practices for obtaining trauma history, and they do not adapt their practice in consistent ways. The results show there is interest in understanding how trauma affects communication development, the relevance to their work, and that additional training is needed to support practitioners to identify and respond to trauma in early childhood.
Conclusions: Findings from this study support SLP practitioners’ involvement in early identification of trauma and the development of best practices regarding trauma-informed SLP assessment and intervention. The results also inform how systems and areas of service need to be adjusted to be more accessible, flexible, and collaborative in order to support children and families whose lives have been impacted by trauma and indicate additional areas of research in the area.

Supplemental Material S1. Survey.

Rupert, A. C., & Bartlett, D. E. (2021). The childhood trauma and attachment gap in speech-language pathology: Practitioner's knowledge, practice, and needs. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_AJSLP-21-00110