Rearing a child with a language disorder: parents experiences with speech and language therapy services in 10 countries

Sam Harding, Maja Kelić, Thora Ulfsdottir, Sofia Baena, Julie Feilberg, Kristine M.Jensen de López, Inge S. Klatte, Rena Lyons, Tina C. Mantel, Rama Novogrodsky, Isabel R. Rodriguez-Ortiz, Krisztina Zajdó

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Collaboration between speech and language therapists and parents to help children with language disorders has always been important. The majority of published work is from the perspective of the therapist and what they think and feel parents need to help their children. However, less is known about (1) the processes parents try to access and receive services; (2) how they perceive the journey; and (3) what they think about the service provided to their child. This paper describes an exploration of how parents experience identification and access of services for their children living with language disorders. Subjects and methods: Parents from ten countries, with a child who had received services for speech language disorder participated in semi-structured qualitative interviews. Thematic analysis was used to interpret the data. Results: Two main themes were constructed: (1) Parental recognition of the need for services; and (2) difficulties accessing services. Parents detailed how they recognised that their children needed services and how they went about securing them. Parents recounted the process they undertook; from their initial concerns about their child’s development, the feelings this engendered, and how they tried to get support and treatment. Parents talked about the factors that made them decide they had to fight to gain access to services for their children. Conclusions: Across countries, parents encounter similar experiences. The major obstacles identified by parents lead to the perception of delay in obtaining access to services. Identifying the services that children required was the first hurdle, even before getting a referral to them.

Original languageEnglish
JournalZeitschrift fur Gesundheitswissenschaften
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Childhood speech and language disorders
  • Cross-cultural
  • Parental perspectives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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