Practice Patterns of Speech-Language Pathologists in Pediatric Vocal Health Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate current practices of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in the management of pediatric vocal health, with specific analysis of the influence of clinical specialty and workplace setting on management approaches. Method American Speech-Language-Hearing Association–certified clinicians providing services within the United States ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 17, 2017
Practice Patterns of Speech-Language Pathologists in Pediatric Vocal Health
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Naomi A. Hartley
    Division of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin–Madison
    Wisconsin Institutes of Medical Research, Madison
  • Maia Braden
    Division of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Susan L. Thibeault
    Division of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin–Madison
    Wisconsin Institutes of Medical Research, Madison
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Naomi A. Hartley and Maia Braden contributed equally to this article.
    Naomi A. Hartley and Maia Braden contributed equally to this article.×
  • Correspondence to Susan L. Thibeault: thibeault@surgery.wisc.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Julie Barkmeier-Kraemer
    Associate Editor: Julie Barkmeier-Kraemer×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 17, 2017
Practice Patterns of Speech-Language Pathologists in Pediatric Vocal Health
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2017, Vol. 26, 281-300. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0057
History: Received May 20, 2015 , Revised December 14, 2015 , Accepted July 4, 2016
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2017, Vol. 26, 281-300. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0057
History: Received May 20, 2015; Revised December 14, 2015; Accepted July 4, 2016

Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate current practices of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in the management of pediatric vocal health, with specific analysis of the influence of clinical specialty and workplace setting on management approaches.

Method American Speech-Language-Hearing Association–certified clinicians providing services within the United States (1%–100% voice caseload) completed an anonymous online survey detailing clinician demographics; employment location and service delivery models; approaches to continuing professional development; and specifics of case management, including assessment, treatment, and discharge procedures.

Results Current practice patterns were analyzed for 100 SLPs (0–42 years of experience; 77 self-identifying as voice specialists) providing services in 34 U.S. states across a range of metropolitan and nonmetropolitan workplace settings. In general, SLPs favored a multidisciplinary approach to management; included perceptual, instrumental, and quality of life measures during evaluation; and tailored intervention to the individual using a combination of therapy approaches. In contrast with current practice guidelines, only half reported requiring an otolaryngology evaluation prior to initiating treatment. Both clinical specialty and workplace setting were found to affect practice patterns. SLPs in school settings were significantly less likely to consider themselves voice specialists compared with all other work environments. Those SLPs who considered themselves voice specialists were significantly more likely to utilize voice-specific assessment and treatment approaches.

Conclusion SLP practice largely mirrors current professional practice guidelines; however, potential exists to further enhance client care. To ensure that SLPs are best able to support children in successful communication, further research, education, and advocacy are required.

Acknowledgments
This work was funded by the Diane M. Bless Endowed Chair in Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. The authors acknowledge statistical assistance from Glen Leverson, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
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