Training and Knowledge in Autism Among Speech-Language Pathologists: A Survey Purpose The current study was designed to answer the following questions: (a) What knowledge do school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have concerning autism? (b) What educational and clinical training do SLPs receive in autism? (c) Do SLPs have confidence in their ability to provide services to children with autism and their ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2008
Training and Knowledge in Autism Among Speech-Language Pathologists: A Survey
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Heatherann Schwartz
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Kathryn D. R. Drager
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Contact author: Kathryn Drager, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Penn State University, 308 Ford Building, University Park, PA 16802. E-mail: kdd5@psu.edu.
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Professional Issues & Training / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2008
Training and Knowledge in Autism Among Speech-Language Pathologists: A Survey
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2008, Vol. 39, 66-77. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/007)
History: Received November 10, 2006 , Revised February 3, 2007 , Accepted May 11, 2007
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2008, Vol. 39, 66-77. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/007)
History: Received November 10, 2006; Revised February 3, 2007; Accepted May 11, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 16

Purpose The current study was designed to answer the following questions: (a) What knowledge do school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have concerning autism? (b) What educational and clinical training do SLPs receive in autism? (c) Do SLPs have confidence in their ability to provide services to children with autism and their families?

Method An original 52-item survey was designed to answer the research questions. Participants were recruited through e-mail and were asked to respond to a Web-based survey.

Results Sixty-seven school-based SLPs practicing in 33 states across the United States responded to the survey. Most participants had accurate knowledge about the characteristics of children with autism; however, they had mixed perceptions of diagnostic criteria for autism. Although most participants did address autism at some level of their educational training, little time was spent discussing the topic. Additionally, some SLPs lack confidence in their abilities to provide services to children with autism.

Conclusion The return rate for participants was small, and it is difficult to generalize the results. However, the majority of respondents reported that they could have benefited from additional training in the area of autism. As a result, it may be necessary to consider strategies for providing this training.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Portions of this paper were presented at the annual conference of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, San Diego, CA, November 2005. The authors wish to thank Jonathon Gillespie, who designed the Web site for the survey and created the database, and the participants who took the time to respond to the survey.
This research was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science for the first author under the direction of the second author.
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