This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Knowledge and Treatment of the Down Syndrome Population in Speech-Language Pathology: A National Survey




Fritz, Morgan

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Communication Disorders


The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which speech-language pathologists possess both knowledge of Down syndrome and confidence in their clinical abilities to treat the population and their families. Data was collected through an anonymous 39-question, web-based survey designed for practicing speech-language pathologists. A total of 260 completed responses were received. The results indicated the participants in the study possessed a foundational knowledge of Down syndrome, characterized by general knowledge of the disorder and evidence-based ideals; however, a lack of knowledge on the communicative characteristics associated with Down syndrome was exhibited. Further, participants’ confidence in their abilities to treat individuals with Down syndrome was shown to increase in relation to increased experience. While some elements of family-centered practice were reported, implementation across multiple domains of treatment was limited. From this, it can be concluded that emphasis may be placed on clinical experience with Down syndrome, knowledge of the communicative characteristics associated with the disorder, and ways to implement family-centered practice for the population in the future.