Original Research

Speech-language therapy for adolescents with written-language difficulties: The South African context

Danel Erasmus, Leani Schutte, Melissa van der Merwe, Salomé Geertsema
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 60, No 1 | a11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v60i1.11 | © 2013 Danel Erasmus, Leani Schutte, Melissa van der Merwe, Salomé Geertsema | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 February 2013 | Published: 27 November 2013

About the author(s)

Danel Erasmus, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Leani Schutte, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Melissa van der Merwe, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Salomé Geertsema, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa


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Abstract

Objective: To investigate whether privately practising speech-language therapists in South Africa are fulfilling their role of identification, assessment and intervention for adolescents with written-language and reading difficulties. Further needs concerning training with regard to this population group were also determined.

Method: A survey study was conducted, using a self-administered questionnaire. Twenty-two currently practising speech-language therapists who are registered members of the South African Speech-Language-Hearing Association (SASLHA) participated in the study.

Results: The respondents indicated that they are aware of their role regarding adolescents with written-language difficulties. However, they feel that South-African speech-language therapists are not fulfilling this role. Existing assessment tools and interventions for written-language difficulties are described as inadequate, and culturally and age inappropriate. Yet, the majority of the respondents feel that they are adequately equipped to work with adolescents with written-language difficulties, based on their own experience, self-study and secondary training. The respondents feel that training regarding effective collaboration with teachers is necessary to establish specific roles, and to promote speech-language therapy for adolescents among teachers.

Conclusion: Further research is needed in developing appropriate assessment and intervention tools as well as improvement of training at an undergraduate level.


Keywords

Speech-language therapist; Adolescents; Written difficulties; Current practice; Perceptions; Needs; Training; South African context

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