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How do speech and language therapists develop competence to work with children with autism spectrum disorders?

Mullis, Julie Ann 2021. How do speech and language therapists develop competence to work with children with autism spectrum disorders? DHS Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Speech and language therapists (SLTs) have a unique role in identifying and supporting children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Previous research outside the UK indicated that SLTs reported minimal training with this client group and knowledge of autism was lacking. In the light of adult learning theories identifying the key components of competence as knowledge, skills and experience, this research investigates how SLTs develop competence to work with children with ASD in the UK. This multi-phased mixed-methods research was designed in three sequential phases from different perspectives. Phase 1 consists of two parts: a comparative study of guidance of regulating bodies for pre-registration SLT training, and a search of autism content in training courses for SLTs across the UK. In Phase 2 semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven experienced specialist SLTs (experts) to investigate their views of how their own competence developed and how they support junior colleagues. Phase 3, utilising an online questionnaire including both open and closed questions, gathered the views of 119 newly qualified practitioners (NQPs) about their training. The results of the research showed that whilst awareness of the features of autism was generally reported to be included in pre-registration courses, the views of experts and NQPs were that training in the practical skills of assessment and treatment interventions was lacking and experience of working directly with children with ASD was limited, despite NQPs reporting that they were frequently required to work with this client group early on in their first posts and that they lacked confidence to do so. Recommendations are proposed to address the issues raised including revising the course content, improving the consistency and quality of continuing professional development through the use of a competency framework, thinking creatively about clinical placements, designing novel qualifications and developing an apprenticeship model of training.

Item Type: Thesis (DHS)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 July 2021
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2022 01:11

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