Parent perspectives on the clinician-client relationship in speech-language treatment for children

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5 Scopus citations


Few studies have explored clinician-client relationships in speech-language treatment for children, although evidence indicates that these relationships may be important. Parents play a unique role in clinician-client relationships and their views have yet to be considered in the speech-language pathology literature. This study explored parents’ perspectives on the clinician-client relationship in speech-language treatment for children using both quantitative and qualitative information. An online survey collected responses from 159 parents with children enrolled in speech-language services. Respondents were asked to complete a rating of the clinician-client relationship, provide information on length of treatment and treatment setting, and respond to open-ended questions about what enhances the clinician-client relationship. Length of treatment was unrelated to the parent rating of the clinician-client relationship. However, ratings did vary by treatment setting; parents of children enrolled in treatment services in schools provided lower ratings than parents with children enrolled in other settings. Thematic analysis of parent views on what enhances the clinician-client relationship yielded four main themes: qualities of the speech-language pathologist (SLP), session characteristics, the child-SLP bond, and communication. The most frequent subthemes in the analysis related to characteristics of the sessions: the integration of play and fun, and a child-oriented approach to sessions. These results provide insight into the development of clinician-client relationships in children's speech-language treatment, with implications for both clinicians and researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
StatePublished - May 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by an American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation New Investigator’s Grant, awarded to K. Ebert. The author thanks Juliana Marks, Alex Lautmann, and Klaudia Benardczyk for assistance with data collection, analysis, and manuscript preparation. Portions of this study were presented at the 2017 Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Alliance
  • Caregiver
  • Intervention
  • Language
  • Rapport
  • Speech
  • Thematic analysis
  • Therapy


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