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Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities


Many speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are underprepared to serve children with ASD, despite a growing need and increased expectation for ASD expertise. To understand this practice gap, 60 SLPs and 26 parents of children with ASD were surveyed regarding SLP knowledge and competency. Of concern was that only about 50% of SLPs correctly identified ASD defining criteria. Respondents rated eight SLP practices as Important to Very Important, but SLPs reported being only Somewhat Competent to Competent. The parents’ rating of SLP competency was significantly lower than parental ratings of importance for one educational practice, use of non-standardized assessment and observational methods. Also, parents rated the development of the Individualized Education Program significantly higher in importance than SLPs rated it. Findings varied for ASD specialty sub-groups. Results support socially valid improvements in preparation for SLPs on the frontlines of assessment, treatment, and development of health and educational systems for children with ASD.



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