Rhiannon Johnson

An Atmosphere of Words: Clinical Considerations and Practices of Speech-Language Pathologists Regarding the Use of Speech-Generating Devices for Children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech

March 29, 2021   /  

Name: Rhiannon Johnson
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders
Advisors: Donald M. Goldberg, Ph.D., Joan E. Furey, Ph.D., Cara Hammond, M.A.

The purpose of this study was to explore the clinical considerations and practices of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in the implementation of multimodal intervention, utilizing speech-generating devices, in the treatment of children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). More specifically, this study investigated the perceptions held by and education completed by SLPs with limited experience in Augmentative and Alternative Communication strategies. Previous studies investigated the outcomes of multimodal intervention for children with CAS without gathering clinicians’ perspectives. Therefore, this investigation sought to add to extant literature by asking SLPs to report on their experiences. A total of 20 SLPs completed a 30-question electronic survey. Results of this study suggested that SLPs may not be receiving adequate training on multimodal intervention to feel confident in implementing this approach for children with CAS. The study’s findings also indicated that the implementation of SGDs may be a factor of CAS severity. In addition, participants who indicated having utilized multimodal intervention reported having observed positive outcomes following this therapy, demonstrating the potential effectiveness of this approach for children with CAS.

Rhiannon will be online to field comments on April 16:
4-6 pm EDT (PST 1-3pm, Africa/Europe: late evening)

64 thoughts on “An Atmosphere of Words: Clinical Considerations and Practices of Speech-Language Pathologists Regarding the Use of Speech-Generating Devices for Children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech”

  1. Congratulations Rhiannon!!
    Where are the dogs and the nature? LOL (reference to LBD meaningful work)

    1. Thank you, Dr. J! Dogs – forthcoming. Nature – uhh, maybe take therapy outside? Haha πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much, Dr. Goldberg! I would have lost my mind if it were not for your reassurance and overwhelming support of/belief in me during those early stages.

  2. Congratulations! As an SLP in a school setting, I agree that SLPs need more training for CAS and AAC!
    Great Work!

    Mary Cotton ’04

    1. Hi! Thank you very much! It was fascinating to learn that there is such a lack of training in regards to CAS/AAC. I appreciate you taking the time to read about my research!

  3. Rhiannon, you literally shed joy and light everywhere you go, and I’m not surprised your IS is one that will help others immensely. What are some of the things you had to take into consideration when designing the survey?
    Congratulations x 1000!

    1. Hi, Cara! Thank you so much for the sweet sweet words. Designing the survey was honestly the most difficult part of this entire process, for me. There was a fine line that I had to walk along that avoided, essentially, forcing the idea of multimodal intervention onto the participant, while simultaneously advocating for the benefits of this therapy approach. I also had a lot of areas that I wanted to cover in my questions, which led to a somewhat lengthy survey. A huge part of my survey design was making sure that it was short enough that SLPs would actually be inclined to participate. Also, the “limited experience” piece of my inclusion criteria was a tricky area. It was important to phrase my inclusion criteria in such a way that participants didn’t feel like they were being looked at as inferior, while still ensuring that I targeted the population that I was seeking out.

    1. Thank you so much, Tessa! I could not thank you enough for everything you’ve helped with over the past year and a half. You’re the best!!

    1. Thank you, David! Its crazy to believe that we’re officially done with I.S.!

  4. Rhiannon, reading your study encouraged me to reflect on how and when I might make recommendations for AAC devices. I enjoyed participating in your project as your second reader; thank you!

    1. Thank you so much, Ms. Hammond. This comment truly means the world to me – I told Dr. Goldberg early on that I wanted to conduct a study that actually influenced even just one person. I loved getting to have you as a part of my I.S., thank you for agreeing to be my second reader!

  5. Great work Rhiannon!! You are such a lovely person and you bring so much light to the world around you!! Best of luck with your future goals!!

  6. Rhiannon! Congrats on finishing your thesis. You are one of the smartest people I know and the best roommate I could have asked for!

    1. Sarah!! Thank you so much, I am so glad that the roommate angels worked in our favor first-year. 210/109 talks and Christmas music in the middle of September will always always always be in my best Wooster memories <3

    1. Thank you, Abby! You’re so sweet; I can’t wait to see all that you accomplish next year and in the years following πŸ™‚

    1. Fully convinced I would not have kept my head on straight without you. Thank you <3

  7. Rhiannon–great work! I’m curious about the lack of training on using such devices. Do you have ideas about why this training isn’t occuring?

    1. Hi Dean Griffin; thank you! And, thank you for your question! I think, in regards to use of AAC with children with CAS, there is a lack of training simply because children with CAS aren’t necessarily viewed as “needing” devices because they are able to verbally communicate (albeit with some difficulty). In terms of AAC more broadly, I think, in the grand scheme of things, AAC devices are relatively new and technology is always changing, so SLPs are not receiving the same training on devices as they would on, say, an approach that has been around for decades.

  8. Congrats, Rhiannon! Such an interesting topic and one that I can tell you are so passionate about!!

    1. Thank you, Caitlyn!! Congrats to you, as well! I can’t wait to see you in a few weeks at commencement!

  9. Hi Rhiannon:
    I enjoyed reading about your IS even though I am not well-versed in the vocabulary. As a liberal arts major, I find this type of learning to be the most fun. I especially enjoyed how you elected to combine an analytical and an experiential/testimonial approach in your investigation. Congratulations, and best wishes in your future endeavors!

    1. Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read about my research! I have to agree – I find I.S. Symposium so exciting simply because there is so much learning that can be done and every student is so passionate about the topic that they chose.

  10. You are doing important works and I am proud to be an Alum to B-Boys and Ballerina FYS with you.

    1. Thank you so much, Angela! Same to you. We’re almost at the finish line!

  11. Congratulations Rhiannon! It was amazing to see how excited you were every day about this topic. So proud of you!

    1. Thank you, Rachel! So so much love. Thank you for always listening to me ramble about my newest CAS-related tangent; I appreciate you more than words. <3

  12. Very interesting!!! Nice work, your hard work and dedication is reflected in this πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Anabel! We’ve come so far since the Language Development language sample project πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much!! And, thank you for letting me steal your daughter for two years πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Dr. Furey! Taking Language Development with you changed my entire college trajectory in the best possible way and, I’ve said it a handful of times now, but I could not be more appreciative of all that you’ve done, even if I tried.

  13. Hi Rhiannon! Congratulations on completing your IS Study! Awesome work! How did you develop an interest in this topic? Why did you choose to better understand SGD clinical practices with CAS vs. aphasia? Keep dancing! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Dr. Keelor! Thank you so much! I was lucky enough to get to experience working with a child with CAS and the disorder absolutely fascinated me. So, when it came time to pick topics, I knew that CAS was an interest of mine. I stumbled across an article in particular that discussed multimodal intervention utilizing SGDs for that population and the rest is history! I find it so interesting that a device can help to improve speech intelligibility. And in terms of CAS vs. aphasia, I have always loved learning about children and their development, so I was drawn to the fact that a CAS population would be significantly more pediatric. I can guarantee that dance will follow me everywhere I go πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Krista! I’m so glad to have been a part of the Peer Mentor team πŸ™‚

  14. Way to go, Rhiannon!! We are proud that you were able to identify your field of interest, and then to push its boundaries. Keep on the same path, and we will keep watching.

    1. Thank you, Dad!! I can’t wait to come home and force you to read 126 pages of my research πŸ™‚

      PS: happy birthday

  15. Hey there Ms. Johnson,
    I found your thesis to be incredibly meaningful, and your methodology was both insightful and heavily supported. Coming from an English major (with no background or familiarity in SLP), I was able to understand your research and supporting claims perfectly. After reading, I’m curious if you think that AAC devices can potentially increase in popularity? Depending on the growing comfortability with the treatment.

    PS. You’re a rockstar and I could read your prose forever.

    1. Thank you, Mar, you are everything. Thank you for being my biggest cheerleader. I genuinely do hope that the use of AAC devices increases in the years to come, considering the gains that have been documented with children with CAS. One really neat thing about the profession of speech-language pathology is that it is constantly growing and changing, so I think, in time, there is a likelihood that treatment approaches that we are not too familiar with today could be the “go-to” approaches in the future. I suppose I will just have to wait and see.
      Ditto, always.

    1. Thank you so much, Dr. Thomas; I appreciate you taking the time to read about my research!

  16. Congratulations, Rhiannon! You have had so much passion and drive for your IS research and it shows through your hard work and being right here at symposium! I am so proud of you and happy to be your friend! I know we have talked about your IS dozens of times, but one question I have for you is: what was your favorite part of your independent study project?

    1. Peyton! Thank you for always being interested in my I.S. rambles; I’m so happy to have you in my life. Honestly, I’m not sure if I can pick just one “favorite part.” I loved actually digging into the literature and reading about CAS and I loved analyzing my data once results came in. So, probably a tie between those two aspects. Realizing what I accomplished once it was actually finished was also mind-blowing, but we’ve talked about that before. πŸ™‚

  17. Very impressive work, Rhiannon! Keep driving to help those with small voices . . . for they have much to say!

    1. Thank you, Auntie Karen! <3 You're absolutely right, what the little ones have to say is just as important as anyone else!

  18. My eyes still glaze over when I read your title, I won’t lie, but look at you go! I like your poster a lot – both because of the design/colors but also because it makes the information very easy to read. Although you have been talking about it for the last year and a half, so maybe that’s why the information is easy to understand.
    I can’t wait for your Master’s thesis in a few years – which I’m sure will also have a title that makes my eyes glaze over. Congrats on finIShing, and enjoy Camp Woo!
    -Sincerely, the best big sister ever

    1. Thanks, Kk! <3 You at least understand the first four words of the title! Thanks for always listening to me ramble about my topic, even though I'm not sure that you had a solid choice in that, living under the same roof. Don't worry, just like Dad, you can read the 126 pages and I'm sure you'll understand a little bit better. Off to Camp Woo!

    2. Congratulations! I’m so ridiculously proud of you and all the hard work. While I know nothing about this topic, your poster makes it very easy to understand. You did fantastic. I can’t wait to see what you do next.

      1. Thank you, Sarah!! I owe half of my sanity to you, Nala, Adam, and Vlad. Thank you for always supporting everything I do and for always cheering me on πŸ™‚

  19. You never cease to amaze – Congratulations Rhiannon! The effort you put into your I.S. is quite honestly a work of love and the excitement you have for your research is infectious. I can’t wait to read it and ask you tons of questions! Glad you had such fantastic Advisors and friends that supported you through this journey.

    1. Thank you, Mom (not Gwen)! I am excited to let you all read it! You’ve heard every single thought I have ever had regarding my I.S., so I’m sure you’ll read parts and remember random tangents I would go on over the phone. And you’re right, I couldn’t ask for a better group of advisors (or friends). Love you! <3

  20. So proud of you!! You’ll always be the person I look up to and want to be! Can’t wait to see what you do in future!

    1. Thank you so much, Micaela! You are absolutely the sweetest. Thank you for always cheering me on <3

  21. I hope you know how brilliant you are. You baffle me every day. I know there are so many amazing things ahead of you. Cannot wait to hear all about it. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Heather <3 SO much love for you. Thank you for always being my personal cheerleader.

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