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Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2017 May 17;26(2):281-300. doi: 10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0057.

Practice Patterns of Speech-Language Pathologists in Pediatric Vocal Health.

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Division of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin-MadisonWisconsin Institutes of Medical Research, Madison.
Division of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison.



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.


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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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