Opportunities - Parents’ experiences with speech-language assessment for their preschool-aged children

Parents’ experiences with speech-language assessment for their preschool-aged children
University of Alberta

Parents play a critical part in speech-language assessment and treatment, and a positive relationship between parents and speech therapists supports better treatment outcomes for children. Assessments are often when parents, children and speech therapists meet, so parents’ experience of the assessment is key.

From the few studies in this area so far, we know that parents have expectations about speech-language assessments, whether or not those expectations can make a difference in their experiences. We also know that assessments can be emotional for parents, for example leading them to feel happy, hopeful, sad, guilty, or afraid. In fact, some parents report that speech-language assessments have caused them long-lasting emotional pain, or have impacted their mental health. However, no studies have focused intentionally on parents’ experiences with the full process of speech and language assessment for their preschoolers.

In this study, we will interview parents of preschoolers who have had a speech-language assessment. We will describe their experiences with the assessment and identify the factors that had the greatest impact on those experiences. These learnings will help us create useful resources for parents to help them prepare for speech-language assessments. We will also help speech therapists minimize the negative experiences and maximize the positive, so that the relationship between parents and speech therapists gets off to a strong start, and helps children make the most treatment gains possible.

Roles and Responsibilities
This opportunity is looking for parents, preferably who have a child that has had a speech-language assessment in their preschool years in Alberta. I would like parent partners to help guide the design of this study by taking part in discussion groups. I would like to meet and talk with interested research partners for about an hour, to get to know them, and talk about the project; we can then decide together if you would like to take part in the discussion groups. There will be two 1.5 hour discussion group meetings.

During these meetings, I would like to talk with you about how best to focus the project (e.g. “What is important for us to understand about parents’ experiences with speech-language assessment?” and “How can we make this project as meaningful and impactful as possible for families?”). These conversations will influence all aspects of the study (e.g. how we recruit participants, what questions we ask in interviews, etc.).

Time Commitment
At this time, I am looking for patient (parent) partners to guide the preliminary phase of our project, as we design the study. Initial one-on-one meetings will take place in January 2024, either by phone or online (e.g. via Zoom or similar). Discussion group meetings  will be about 1.5 hours long and will take place online (via Zoom or similar). As the research project moves into full gear (late fall 2024), I hope to engage with a larger group of patient (parent) partners to guide further details of the project. You would have the option of continuing your involvement at that time if you would like.

Parent partners will be offered the option of receiving a gift card, or an honorarium, of $100 for their involvement. Compensation will be sent to parent partners once the discussion groups are completed.
This is an online opportunity so there are no expenses anticipated for parking, travel, etc.

For more information or to apply
Shanda Duggleby Wenzel
780.306.1936 (call or text)