SLT service provision for individuals with Down's syndrome- a survey of UK therapists
with Down’s Syndrome (DS) have a unique behavioural, physical, and cognitive profile that contributes to significant communication needs that persist throughout the lifespan. Despite this, reports suggest that individuals with DS receive limited Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) services. There is an assumption in the literature that the amount of services offered to individuals with DS decreases with age, although individuals with DS can make progress throughout adolescence and adulthood in all areas of communication. There is also an assumption that speech intelligibility is not a priority for therapy for individuals with DS, even though individuals with DS often present with severe speech disorders that have a negative impact on their participation and wellbeing. However, there is no research exploring current service provision in the UK to support these assumptions. The aim of the study was two-fold: 1. To investigate SLT services currently offered to individuals with DS in the UK. 2. To gather opinion on whether SLTs would like to target specific areas of communication and swallowing more frequently and if so current barriers towards this. An electronic questionnaire investigating service delivery was distributed via email and Twitter to SLTs who work with individuals with DS in the UK. The majority of services were offered to young children with DS. 13-16 years olds (yo) were the least serviced age group. Dysphagia was a priority for young children (0-3yo) and adults (13-65+yo). The areas of communication identified as being addressed most frequently, or in need of more services differed according to age, although there was a tendency for language to be prioritised over speech. SLTs reported several reasons why services were restricted, including inadequate time/resources, and the knowledge and capacity of other professionals.