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An international survey of assessment and treatment practice for discourse in paediatric ABI

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 15:37 authored by Hill, E, Anne WhitworthAnne Whitworth, Boyes, M, Claessen, M

Purpose:Guidelines recommend routine discourse assessment and treatment in paediatric acquired brain injury (ABI) but provide little guidance for clinical practice. The degree to which this has influenced the nature of discourse assessment and treatment in clinical practice has not been examined in detail.

Method: Speech-language pathologists working in paediatric ABI (clients aged <18 years) in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Canada, and the Asia Pacific region were invited to complete a survey of discourse assessment and intervention practices (n = 77).

Result: Clinicians from Australia and New Zealand comprised over half of a responses (53%). The largest proportion had over 10 years’ experience (60%), worked in the metropolitan area (58%), and with secondary school-age children (64%). Routine discourse assessment was undertaken by 80% of respondents, focussing on a limited range of genres. No preferred intervention approach was identified. One-quarter of clinicians routinely considered holistic factors during clinical decision-making. Limited normative data and treatment evidence, insufficient time and training were identified as clinical barriers.

Conclusion: Assessment practices were consistent with guidelines, yet interventions were highly variable, reflecting limited evidence, client heterogeneity, time constraints, and limited training. A biopsychosocial approach to practice was evident, yet a focus on impairment level factors was prominent. Findings support the need for standardised discourse assessment and discourse intervention methods. Translation into practice guidelines would promote consistency and confidence in clinical practice.


Publication title

International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology






School of Health Sciences


Taylor & Francis

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services)

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