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Developing a feasible peer-mediated intervention (O’Donoghue et al., 2024)

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posted on 2024-02-12, 19:27 authored by Michelle O’Donoghue, Norelee Kennedy, John Forbes, Carol-Anne Murphy

Purpose: Qualitative engagement with stakeholders in the development of interventions can provide insight into strategies to maximize feasibility in real-life settings. We engaged stakeholders (autistic adults, early childhood educators, early childhood sector leaders and policy influencers, parents of autistic children, and speech-language pathologists) to inform the development of an educator-led peer-mediated intervention (PMI) for autistic preschoolers who use minimal speech that is feasible to implement in inclusive early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings.

Method: A qualitative iterative intervention design process was utilized. Stakeholders (N = 15) attended an online workshop and completed a document review exploring the acceptability and feasibility of the proposed embedded PMI. A two-step analysis procedure using the Theoretical Domains Framework and template analysis was conducted to identify the barriers, enablers, and supports to the implementation of embedded PMI in early childhood settings.

Results: While embedded PMI was unanimously acceptable to stakeholders, several participants expressed concerns regarding feasibility. Barriers to the successful integration and implementation of PMI in inclusive preschool contexts included access to skills, knowledge, and resources. Participants identified strategies to overcome modifiable barriers and to enhance the existing enablers. These strategies are reflected in the following themes: build on the familiar, build capacity in augmentative and alternative communication, adopt a whole center approach, adapt to meet the needs of the ECEC setting, and engage in proactive implementation.

Conclusion: To address barriers to the implementation of embedded PMI, action is needed at various levels: macro (national/policy), meso (organization/setting), and micro (individual).

Supplemental Material S1. Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research (SRQR; O’Brien et al., 2014).

Supplemental Material S2. Probing questions based on the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF; based on Atkins et al., 2017).

Supplemental Material S3. Embedded-PMI Protocol (document circulated to participants for document review post-workshops).

O’Donoghue, M., Kennedy, N., Forbes, J., & Murphy, C.-A. (2024). Feasible peer-mediated intervention for autistic children using minimal speech: A qualitative intervention development process. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2024_AJSLP-23-00303

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