First Advisor

Murza, Kimberly

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Document Type


Date Created



Speech-language impairments are one of the most common conditions of childhood and affect roughly 5-8% of preschoolers and 11-20% of kindergarteners. If left untreated, speech-language impairments persist in 40-60% of children under five years of age and are strong predictors of school failure. Despite strong evidence that supports early intervention, as many as 90% of eligible children are not receiving appropriate services. This qualitative research study investigated child health professionals’ current knowledge, perceptions, and practices for screening and referring children with possible speech and language impairments. Data were gathered primarily through participant interviews and scenario questions. The data were then analyzed and categorized into major themes. The themes included: parents and their role in early identification, impact of socioeconomics, perceptions of well-child visits and assessing, current practices of assessing, perceptions and preferences of referring, and the referral process. A discussion section provides limitations of the study, implications for child health professionals and speech-language pathologists, and areas of future research. This study concludes that while participants provided a comprehensive look into the current knowledge, perceptions, and practices of assessing and referring children with possible speech and language impairment, more research is needed to fully address early identification and intervention.


Speech disorders; Communicative disorders; Speech perception


150 pages

Local Identifiers


Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.