SPICES: Disclosure Practices to Help Caregivers Digest a Diagnosis of Developmental Language Disorder

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Purpose: Recent studies of the experiences of caregivers of children with language disorders have suggested that speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are not clearly and effectively providing caregivers with a comprehensible diagnostic term for their child’s difficulties. Since the work of the CATALISE consortium, there has been a mounting consensus around the use of the term developmental language disorder (DLD) to identify primary, persistent language problems beginning in childhood. Thanks to the increasing unification of SLPs around the term DLD, the time is ripe to directly address clinical practices in delivering a diagnosis to caregivers in ways they can understand, retain, and use to build connection and drive advocacy efforts. Conclusions: In this tutorial, the authors review the SPIKES model, used by physicians to structure diagnostic disclosure conversations. Drawing upon research examining caregiver experiences of receiving a range of developmental diagnoses, we have adapted the SPIKES model to meet the needs of SLPs and their clients. The authors present the SPICES model for planning and executing sensitive and effective disclosure of a DLD diagnosis.

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American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology

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