Congratulations to Kaitlyn Clarke who successfully defended her Qualifying Examination, “How Speech-Language Pathologists Instruct and Present AAC Supports When Working with Individuals on the Autism Spectrum: A Qualitative Study.”
The purpose of the Qualifying Examination is to evaluate the student’s performance throughout the first year of doctoral study. The Qualifying Examination has two components: a written paper and an oral defense. Once a student passes the Qualifying Examination, he/she is formally accepted as a doctoral candidate.
Kaitlyn completed a qualitative study looking at how SLPs who work with individuals with ASD implement and instruct the use of AAC supports, their decision making process, and the perceived efficacy of the interventions used. She found that SLPs are utilizing evidence-based practices by providing some form of aided AAC modeling when working individuals diagnosed with ASD; however the method of input provided did vary from individual to individual. SLPs reported a client-centered decision making process, as well as a multi-faceted method of evaluating progress, including parent/teacher reports, data from therapy sessions, and observations across environments. Finally, she found that the consumption of research in evidence-based practices relied heavily on open-access online forums, such as blogs and social media, instead of peer-reviewed publications/journals.