A comparison of Malaysian and Australian speech-language pathologists' practices with children with developmental disabilities who are pre-symbolic Academic Article uri icon


  • The aim of this study was to explore the assessment, intervention, and family-centred practices of Malaysian and Australian speech-language pathologists (SLPs) when working with children with developmental disabilities who are pre-symbolic. A questionnaire was developed for the study, which was completed by 65 SLPs from Malaysia and 157 SLPs from Australia. Data reduction techniques were used prior to comparison of responses across questionnaire items. Results indicated that SLPs relied mostly on informal assessments. Malaysian and Australian SLPs differed significantly in terms of obtaining information from outside the clinic to inform assessment. When providing intervention, SLPs focused mostly on improving children's pre-verbal skills. A third of Australian SLPs listed the introduction of some form of symbolic communication as an early intervention goal, compared to only a small percentage of Malaysian SLPs. Regarding family involvement, SLPs most often involved mothers, with fathers and siblings being involved to a lesser extent. Overall, it appeared that practices of Malaysian SLPs had been influenced by developments in research, although there were some areas of service delivery that continued to rely on traditional models. Factors leading to similarities and differences in practice of SLPs from both countries as well as clinical and research implications of the study are discussed.

publication date

  • October 2011

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