The Trifocus Framework and Interprofessional Collaborative Practice in Severe Disabilities Purpose Individuals with severe disabilities are a diverse group of learners with complex communication needs. This article presents a synthesis of the literature addressing the five strategies of the trifocus framework, with its triadic structure of learner with disability, communication partner, and environment. The application of interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) ... Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus  |   May 17, 2017
The Trifocus Framework and Interprofessional Collaborative Practice in Severe Disabilities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan M. Bruce
    Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
  • Susan M. Bashinski
    Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, MO
  • 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. ×
  • Correspondence to Susan M. Bruce: susan.bruce@bc.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Nancy Brady
    Associate Editor: Nancy Brady×
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / School-Based Settings / Professional Issues & Training / Clinical Forum: Interprofessional Collaborative Practices in Service Delivery for Individuals With Severe Disabilities
Clinical Focus   |   May 17, 2017
The Trifocus Framework and Interprofessional Collaborative Practice in Severe Disabilities
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2017, Vol. 26, 162-180. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0063
History: Received May 28, 2015 , Revised October 6, 2015 , Accepted September 9, 2016
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2017, Vol. 26, 162-180. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0063
History: Received May 28, 2015; Revised October 6, 2015; Accepted September 9, 2016

Purpose Individuals with severe disabilities are a diverse group of learners with complex communication needs. This article presents a synthesis of the literature addressing the five strategies of the trifocus framework, with its triadic structure of learner with disability, communication partner, and environment. The application of interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) to the implementation of trifocus framework communication strategies is emphasized.

Method A literature search was conducted using Google Scholar and EBSCO to identify literature and research studies on IPCP and communication intervention for learners with severe disabilities, published 1994–2015, and then organized within the trifocus framework. The trifocus strategies are enhancing sensitivity, utilizing routines, increasing communication opportunities, modifying the communication environment, and augmenting input. Studies that included at least one participant with severe disabilities and their communication partners were considered. A secondary search was then conducted by reviewing the articles referenced in the original articles.

Conclusion Effective IPCP in communication intervention considers the learner's characteristics, the knowledge and skills required of communication partners, and effective environmental arrangements to support communication. Future research should include clear participant descriptions, documentation of fidelity measures, and evidence of generalization to support professionals to know when findings are relevant to the individuals they serve.

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