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

J Commun Disord. 2018 May-Jun;73:25-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2018.03.005. Epub 2018 Mar 15.


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.

Keywords: Alliance; Caregiver; Intervention; Language; Rapport; Speech; Thematic analysis; Therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Language
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Language Therapy*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Speech-Language Pathology* / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires