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Browsing by Author "Haaman, Alisa"

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  • Haaman, Alisa (2019)
    Aims and objectives. Feeding difficulties are complex and multifactorial disorders that cause multiple challenges for children and their families. Previous studies have focused on parents’ experiences and treatment in specialised healthcare, but speech and language pathologists’ perspectives in the primary healthcare have not been studied. The incidence of feeding difficulties is expected to increase and the number of children with feeding difficulties is likely to increase in primary healthcare. The intervention requires multidisciplinary collaboration. However, clinicians across disciplines lack common working practices. The objective of this study was to increase the knowledge about feeding difficulties that speech and language pathologists encounter in primary healthcare. The aim was also to describe speech and language pathologists’ experiences and perspectives on multidisciplinary work and their readiness to work with the children. In addition, the assessment and intervention methods they use were studied. Therefore, it would be possible to pay more attention to the experiences of speech and language pathologists and to create more functional working practices based on these experiences. Method. The method in this qualitative study was a semi-structured interview. Seven speech and language pathologists working in primary healthcare were interviewed for the study, and they all had worked children with feeding difficulties in the past year. Speech and language pathologists’ work experience in primary healthcare varied from 1 to 25 years. Themes for the interview were formed based on the previous research. The interviews were carried out in November and December 2018. The interviews were recorded and transcribed into Word-files, and the data were analysed using content analysis. The data were divided into thematic groups and the results were examined in the light of earlier studies and literature. Results and conclusions. Based on this study, speech and language pathologists’ work with children with feeding difficulties is diverse in primary healthcare. Work requires the ability to detect several different areas and special features compared to many other disorders. When talking about assessment and intervention during the interviews, speech and language pathologists did point out various challenges. Complexity of feeding disorders, working with multilingual and multicultural families, speech and language pathologists’ insecurity and lack of common working practices hinder the work. The most important factors developing their readiness were work experience, multidisciplinary collaboration, collegial support and additional education. The findings of this study indicate that the speech and language pathologist working in primary healthcare play a major role in the treatment of children with feeding difficulties but the division of disciplines should be clearer. This study suggests that multidisciplinary collaboration has a positive effect on supporting the family and work readiness of speech and language pathologists. Feeding difficulties can be positively affected in primary healthcare and family welfare can also be supported. Due to the responsibility of speech and language pathologists’ work, active learning and maintaining professional skills with the help of clinical and theoretical knowledge are required.