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Spanish-Speaking Mothers' Experiences of School-Based Speech Therapy.

PURPOSE: Spanish-speaking families are a growing population that speech-language pathologists must be prepared to work with. To provide culturally responsive intervention, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) must understand the perspectives of Spanish-speaking caregivers when providing intervention. These values and experiences may differ from those of monolingual, mainstream culture. Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these experiences is also important. In this qualitative study, we explore the experiences of Spanish-speaking mothers whose children have received school-based speech-language intervention and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHOD: We interviewed five Spanish-speaking mothers who were identified as having bilingual children who had or were currently receiving speech therapy, all through the public school system. The mothers participated in a semistructured interview to share their experiences with their children receiving intervention. We analyzed the transcripts through interpretative phenomenological analysis to identify salient themes among participants. All research team members reviewed and agreed upon themes to ensure credibility.

RESULTS: The findings revealed six group experiential themes: (a) lack of services and frustration with and barriers to accessing services, (b) greater improvements in English compared with Spanish, (c) bilingual speech therapy has positive effects on children and Spanish-speaking mothers, (d) family involvement in speech therapy is highly important, (e) family stress related to speech difficulties, and (f) pandemic negatively impacted children's socialization and learning.

DISCUSSION: The results are discussed in the context of equity. Through understanding the experiences of Spanish-speaking mothers, SLPs can work to ensure service levels comparable with those of monolingual children and support bilingual acquisition.

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