Assessment and Intervention in Childhood Language Disorders: A Comparison of Practices in Turkey and the USA

Özlem Oğuz İrem Özkaraalp Ahsen Erim Rumeysa İnan Şeyda Nur Başaran

Introduction: Differential diagnosis and early intervention are quite important in childhood language disorders. A wide variety of approaches can be used in language therapies and these approaches are divided into such classes as clinician-centered, child-centered or hybrid approaches. It is thought that the comparison about the assessment and treatment techniques for delayed language and Specific Language Impairment between the USA and Turkey where speech and language therapy field does not have an old history may contribute to both practice and research. For that reason, it was aimed to compare the methods and approaches of assessment and treatment in cases of delayed language and specific language impairment between speech and language therapists who live in the USA and Turkey in this study. Method: The descriptive research model was used in this study and two equivalent questionnaires of eight questions related to assessment and treatment procedures in Turkish and English were prepared by the researchers in order to collect the data. 56 participants from Turkey and 128 participants from the USA, 184 participants in total, participated to the study. The corresponding author prepared the English version of the survey. The questionnaires were delivered to the participants online.  SPSS-20 package program was used for the data analysis. Results & Conclusion: According to the findings, speech and language therapists work mostly at the rehabilitation centers in Turkey (32,14 %) while the speech and language therapists work mostly in schools (57 %) in the USA. It was found that there is no speech and language therapist who works in schools in Turkey, as there is no available position for speech and language therapists at schools in Turkey. The findings show that there are differences between the USA and Turkey about referenced experts/ professionals in cases of delayed language and specific language impairment referrals. It is noteworthy that in the USA reference for evaluation is mainly directed to psychologist and as a second professional to special education experts apart from speech and language therapist. Although referenced experts show variety in Turkey, reference is done most commonly to child psychiatrists. When the assessment tools for delayed language and Specific Language Impairment between the USA and Turkey were compared, there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups. Both groups prefer informal observation during assessment process. Survey findings also indicate that the most commonly used approaches for Specific Language Impairment and language delay were Phonological Awareness Approach (x̄=2,78) and Floortime, which is one of Relationship Based Approaches (x̄=2,48) in Turkey while the Play Based Approach (x̄=2,90) and Visual Strategies to Facilitate Approach were the most preferred ones in the USA. (x̄=2, 81). The least used approach for both countries was the Writing Lab Approach. In the intervention sessions of delayed language and Specific Language Impairment, the speech and language therapists in Turkey chose toys as materials (55, 3 %) while the ones in the USA mostly preferred books (36, 2 %) besides other variable options such as flashcards, games, pictures, videos, Ipad and core boards. 


Delayed language, Specific Language Impairment, developmental language disorder, speech and language therapy, treatment, assessment, comparison


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