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Provision for children with speech and language difficulties in Tanzania

Marshall, Julie (2015) Provision for children with speech and language difficulties in Tanzania. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 44 (4). pp. 341-365. ISSN 1465-346X

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Knowledge about paediatric speech and language difficulties, training for and contact with children with such problems and views on service developments were explored using a written questionnaire, completed by 84 Tanzanian health and education professionals. Additionally, two sets of interviews were carried out, one with a subset of questionnaire respondents and another with a group of 14 health/education planners and administrators. Results showed that whilst only 41 % of respondents had received training about speech and language difficulties, 68% considered themselves to be responsible for assisting children with such problems. Levels of knowledge were significantly higher in the special education group, but were not significantly related to training, exposure to speech and language therapists, or professional responsibility. However, knowledge levels were significantly related to daily contact with children with speech and language difficulties. No evidence of research or planning for children with such difficulties was discovered. Views on service provision favoured educational over health‐based provision. Qualitative information on attitudes and beliefs about speech and language difficulties did not contradict previous data on disabilities. The implications for Tanzania and other similar countries are discussed. Improvements to the questionnaire are discussed. More data are needed in order to facilitate appropriate service development.

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