Purpose: This study examined caregiver perceptions of their child's language and literacy disorder as influenced by communications with their speech-language pathologist.
Method: The participants were 12 caregivers of 10 schoolaged children with language and literacy disorders. Employing qualitative methods, a collective case study approach was utilized in which the caregiver(s) of each child represented one case. The data came from semistructured interviews, codes emerged directly from the caregivers' responses during the interviews, and multiple coding passes using ATLAS.ti software were made until themes were evident. These themes were then further validated by conducting clinical file reviews and follow-up interviews with the caregivers.
Results: Caregivers' comments focused on the types of information received or not received, as well as the clarity of the information. This included information regarding their child's diagnosis, the long-term consequences of their child's disorder, and the connection between language and reading. Although caregivers were adept at describing their child's difficulties and therapy goals/objectives, their comments indicated that they struggled to understand their child's disorder in a way that was meaningful to them and their child.
Conclusions: The findings showed the value caregivers place on receiving clear and timely diagnostic information, as well as the complexity associated with caregivers' understanding of language and literacy disorders. The findings are discussed in terms of changes that could be made in clinical practice to better support children with language and literacy disorders and their families.