Presentation (Project) Title

The Impact of Childhood Trauma on Communication and the Speech-Language Pathologist’s Role

Mentor Information

Anthony Coy (Department of Psychology)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

Trauma affects the way that children develop, in the following research specifically, communication skills are focused on. Communicating is in an integral part of life and if that ability is fractured, the child will be referred to a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). However, SLP’s do not have the knowledge a mental health professional does regarding psychological trauma. Greater awareness is needed to drive interdisciplinary work on the topic, as well as providing education on psychological trauma to SLPs. Qualitative research was used to explore SLP’s work with trauma and education they received regarding trauma. Four SLPs that worked with children in Florida were interviewed via Microsoft Teams. Looking over the transcripts provided four different themes that were reoccurring throughout the interviews. Rapport was an important skill mentioned that built trust between client and clinician. Foundational skills, like playing, assists SLPs when children lack the most basic communication. SLPs turn to Mental Health professionals when working with children who have went through a psychological trauma; the mental health professionals have knowledge SLP’s don’t and vice versa. Lastly, providing graduate students and current SLPs with mental health education will help prepare them for working with children that have experienced a psychological trauma. Giving the most basic of skills could prevent unease and create a more efficient therapy session. Limitations, like COVID-19, prevented a greater number of interviewees, however, the future research looks promising. Additional topics and a widespread population will allow for an even deeper look into the SLP’s role with psychological trauma.

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The Impact of Childhood Trauma on Communication and the Speech-Language Pathologist’s Role

Trauma affects the way that children develop, in the following research specifically, communication skills are focused on. Communicating is in an integral part of life and if that ability is fractured, the child will be referred to a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). However, SLP’s do not have the knowledge a mental health professional does regarding psychological trauma. Greater awareness is needed to drive interdisciplinary work on the topic, as well as providing education on psychological trauma to SLPs. Qualitative research was used to explore SLP’s work with trauma and education they received regarding trauma. Four SLPs that worked with children in Florida were interviewed via Microsoft Teams. Looking over the transcripts provided four different themes that were reoccurring throughout the interviews. Rapport was an important skill mentioned that built trust between client and clinician. Foundational skills, like playing, assists SLPs when children lack the most basic communication. SLPs turn to Mental Health professionals when working with children who have went through a psychological trauma; the mental health professionals have knowledge SLP’s don’t and vice versa. Lastly, providing graduate students and current SLPs with mental health education will help prepare them for working with children that have experienced a psychological trauma. Giving the most basic of skills could prevent unease and create a more efficient therapy session. Limitations, like COVID-19, prevented a greater number of interviewees, however, the future research looks promising. Additional topics and a widespread population will allow for an even deeper look into the SLP’s role with psychological trauma.