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Session Overview
Oral Presentation XVII: "Do Preschool Children In The Canton of Zurich Get The Recommended Amount of Speech Therapy and Early Special Needs Education?"
Tuesday, 22/Nov/2022:
4:45pm - 5:00pm

Presenting Author: Leila Toumi

Location: Auditorium Tissot

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Do Preschool Children In The Canton of Zurich Get The Recommended Amount of Speech Therapy and Early Special Needs Education?

Leila Toumi1,2, Daniela Jepathavakumar1,2, Michael von Rhein1,2,3, Oskar Jenni1,2,3

1University Children's Hospital Zurich, Child Development Center; 2University of Zurich (UZH); 3University Children's Hospital Zurich, Children's Research Center

Introduction Developmental delay (DD) is one of the most frequent disorders in early childhood. Early identification of DD is critical to ensure appropriate interventions. However, there is little knowledge about the demand and supply of services for children with DD in Switzerland. In the Canton of Zurich, therapy recommendations for preschool children with DD are centrally organized. We aimed to evaluate whether granted hours are being utilized.

Methods We analyzed our database regarding the rate of utilization of granted therapy hours of all children with a recommendation for speech therapy or early special needs education (ESNE) in 2017 (n = 1954) and investigated the reasons for under-utilization.

Results 496 children (25.3 %) were allocated to ESNE and 1458 (74.6 %) to speech therapy. The median utilization rate of therapy hours was 74 % (ESNE) and 70.7 % (speech therapy). The most frequent reasons for low therapy utilization were parental therapy termination (23.7 %) and lack of therapeutic capacity (19 %).10.7 % of the children in speech therapy did not receive any therapeutical hours due to approaching kindergarten entry. 4.8 % of the children in speech therapy reached therapeutic goals before fulfilling their therapeutical recommendation.

Discussion Therapy utilization was significantly below the hours granted. 30 % of all recommended therapy hours for preschool children were not used. Increasing therapeutical capacity and compliance and adding programs for children with developmental language disorder could help raise the utilization rate and thus improve outcomes.

Conclusion Strategies to improve therapy utilization should be considered.

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