Purpose: Although researchers have explored parental perspectives of childhood speech and language disorders, most studies have been conducted in English-speaking countries. Little is known about parental experiences across countries, where procedures of language screening and services for language disorders differ. The authors participated in the COST1 Action network IS1406, “Enhancing Children’s Oral Language Skills Across Europe and Beyond,” which provided an opportunity to conduct cross-country qualitative interviews with parents. The aim of this pilot study was to explore ways in which parents construed and described speech and language disorders across countries. Method: Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with parents from 10 families in 10 different countries. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Findings: The overall theme was “acknowledging parental expertise.” The parents described, in detail, ways in which their children’s speech and language (dis)abilities had an impact on the children’s everyday life. Three subthemes were identified: impairment, disability, and changes over time. Conclusions: The findings suggest that, across a range of countries, parents demonstrated contextualized understandings of their children’s speech and language (dis)abilities, along with the everyday functional implications of the disorders. Hence, despite not holding professional knowledge about language disorders, the voices, views, understandings, and personal experiences of parents in relation to their child’s disorder should be listened to when planning therapy services.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
1The European Cooperation in Science and Technology supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020.
The project was part of the work of COST Action IS1406, “Enhancing Children’s Oral Language Skills Across Europe and Beyond: A Collaboration Focusing on Interventions for Children With Difficulties Learning Their First Language,” funded by the European Union. We wish to thank the Action for facilitating networking, meetings, and making this large international collaboration possible. We would like to thank the parents that agreed to participate in our study and to the gatekeepers that facilitated this.
© 2021 The Authors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing