Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) from the academy, a clinical service-delivery business, and the AAC manufacturer Lingraphica collaborated on a study of perceptions of practicing SLP clinicians regarding the use of speech-generating devices (SGDs) in rehabilitating bilingual clients with aphasia. Their aim was to identify and characterize the main factors perceived by respondents either to hinder, or to facilitate, the use of speech-generating devices by bilingual PWA from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
The investigators distributed an online survey to SLPs through social media and a e-mail listserv provided by the AAC company. For the present publication, they report on what they found analyzing survey answers from 274 responding SLPs who met specified inclusion criteria regarding experience in implementing SGD solutions for PWA. The 3 topics of focus were: [i] incidence of bilingual PWAs on the SLPs’ caseloads; [ii] amount of graduate training related to implementing SGD solutions, or to providing clinical services, for PWAs who are bilingual; and [iii] the main perceived barriers or facilitators to SGD use in rehabilitative interventions for bilingual PWAs. In analyzing data from closed-ended questions, the investigators report total number of responses and percentage breakdowns of different responses. For open-ended questions, the authors conducted content analysis to identify key themes that emerged, characterize each briefly, and their report frequencies of occurrence.
Data analysis shows that 52.6% of respondents had worked with PWA who spoke another language. Approximately 28% of these SLPs reported being themselves proficient in another language. During graduate studies, only a small percentage – 17.2% – of SLPs had received aphasia intervention training for bilingual clients, and a much smaller 0.6% had received training in bilingual SGD intervention strategies. Four main themes emerged from content analyses regarding barriers to SGD use for bilingual persons with aphasia. These centered around access to and effective use of hardware and software, availability of appropriate cultural and linguistic SGD content, technical and linguistic limitations of clinicians themselves, and limited access to resources for SGD intervention with bilingual clients with aphasia. The three factors that were identified as facilitators to activity of this type were: [i] user-friendly symbols, organizational schemes, and human-computer interaction designs; [ii[ the ability to incorporate personalized materials; and [iii] ease of personalizing and operating the SGD technologies.
For further reading: P. F. Hung, K. L. Brock, L. Sun et al. (2023). Perceived factors that facilitate or prevent the use of speech-generating devices in bilingual individuals with aphasia. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 32(4):1644-1664 . https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_AJSLP-22-00235