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AAC service delivery barriers and characteristics (Gohsman & Johnson, 2023)

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posted on 2023-06-22, 22:31 authored by Meredith K. Gohsman, Rachel K. Johnson

Purpose: Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) report extensive barriers to delivering augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) services, including the knowledge and skills necessary for AAC service delivery. Although nearly all graduate programs report the inclusion of preservice training for SLPs to provide AAC services, existing research on SLPs’ characteristics of AAC service provision does not reflect these changes. This study aimed to identify current AAC service delivery characteristics, barriers, and learning preferences reported by SLPs.

Method: A survey invitation was distributed to SLPs with American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Certificate of Clinical Competence through social media and the ASHA Community discussion groups.

Results: Participants were 530 SLPs who predominantly identified as general practice SLPs. Participants reported 1%–25% of their weekly patient caseload has AAC needs for communication or receives AAC intervention. SLPs reported feeling at least “knowledgeable” in more than half of the targeted competency areas. The reported primary barriers to AAC service provision are knowledge, caseload, and time. Preferences for topic, format, and frequency and duration for AAC-related continuing education were highly variable among SLPs.

Conclusions: SLPs’ barriers to AAC service delivery are consistent with research from the last 15 years, revealing a lack of systematic, organizational, and informational mechanisms to support SLPs as vital members of the AAC team. Those involved in post-service instruction and training must consider the training needs of SLPs with varying competence and their experience with AAC modalities, clinical practice backgrounds, and learning preferences. AAC-related training and continuing education must reflect SLP’s daily practice, learning needs, and preferences.

Supplemental Material S1. Survey.

Gohsman, M. K., & Johnson, R. K. (2023). Reported barriers to augmentative and alternative communication service delivery and learning preferences among speech-language pathologists. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 32(4), 1595–1609.