Training preservice SLPs’ family-centered skills (Mandak et al., 2020)

Purpose: Despite the recognition that family-centered services are best practice in augmentative and alternative communication services, many speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are lacking in their acquisition and implementation of family-centered skills. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of online instruction in a family-centered, relational skills strategy on preservice SLPs use of family-centered skills.
Method: A switching replications design was used to evaluate the effects of an online training on the use of family-centered behaviors by 15 preservice SLPs who were randomly assigned to two groups. The online training taught the students a four-step relational skills strategy (summarized by the acronym LAFF): (a) Listen, empathize, and communicate respect; (b) Ask questions; (c) Focus on the issues; and (d) Find a first step. Participants were videotaped during interactions with simulated parents before and after the training.
Results: After an average of 61 min of instruction via the online module, all of the preservice SLPs significantly improved their demonstration of relational skills. Additionally, one parent of a child who used augmentative and alternative communication viewed the video recordings and chose 14 of the 15 postinstruction role plays as more family-centered.
Conclusion: The findings from this study provide support for the use of an online environment to teach preservice SLPs family-centered relational skills. In order to prepare future SLPs and ensure the delivery of family-centered services, future research is necessary, including investigations to determine whether other family-centered skills can be effectively taught through an online environment.

Supplemental Material S1. Scenario information for simulated parents.

Supplemental Material S2. Operational definitions for LAFF strategy skills.

Mandak, K., Light, J., & McNaughton, D. (2020). The effects of an online training on preservice speech-language pathologists' use of family-centered skills. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication.