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Terminology in preschool speech-language pathology (Csercsics et al., 2024)

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posted on 2024-02-23, 00:35 authored by Alison Lynn Csercsics, Lisa M. D. Archibald, Barbara Jane Cunningham

Purpose: This quality improvement project aimed to address the inconsistent use of clinical labels across a preschool speech and language program in Ontario, Canada. The study investigated whether a multicomponent knowledge translation (KT) intervention could increase speech-language pathologists’ (SLPs’) knowledge about the recommended clinical labels, motivate their intentions to use the labels, and facilitate practice change during a 3-month pilot period.

Method: The diffusion of innovations theory was utilized to identify and address known and suspected barriers and facilitators that could influence the adoption of consistent terminology. The intervention was evaluated using a pre-experimental study design (with pre, post, and follow-up testing) and included two phases: Phase 1 involved the pretraining survey, KT intervention, and posttraining survey, and Phase 2 included an exit survey after a 3-month pilot period.

Results: Five hundred twenty-nine SLPs in Phase 1 and 387 SLPs in Phase 2 participated. Following the web-based intervention, SLPs demonstrated improved knowledge about the recommended labels with most indicating intentions to communicate the labels going forward. SLPs also reported increased comfort using labels and positive views on their importance and value. After the 3-month pilot period, SLPs’ reported use of most recommended labels decreased, as did ratings of comfort, value, and importance. However, most SLPs reported intentions to use the labels going forward.

Conclusions: Despite having intentions to adopt the recommended labels, the lack of implementation by SLPs suggests the presence of additional barriers impacting their use of the recommended clinical labels in practice. Future work should investigate clinician-identified barriers to inform future implementation efforts.

Supplemental Material S1. A description of how the Diffusion of Innovations Theory (Rogers, 2003) was utilized to identify and address potential facilitators and barriers influencing the adoption of the KT intervention.

Csercsics, A. L., Archibald, L. M. D., & Cunningham, B. J. (2024). Working toward recommended terminology in the Canadian preschool speech-language pathology context. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 33(3), 1356–1372.


This work was requested and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.