Australian speech-language pathology intervention settings and service delivery methods for adolescents requiring language support

Ms Kellie Utley1,Dr Suzanne Hopf1

1Charles Sturt University, Thurgoona, Australia

Background: Provision of language intervention for Australian adolescents with communication and learning needs is a growing area of practice for speech-language pathologists. This literature review aims to describe the settings and service delivery methods in which an adolescent with language difficulties may engage in intervention with speech and language pathologists.

Method: A comprehensive and systematised database search was conducted. Extracted literature was measured against recognised quality, validity, and applicability standards then thematically analysed and critiqued.

Results: Eight articles discussing language intervention for adolescents in Australia were identified and analysed. Two major themes emerged: (1) Service settings, and (2) Service delivery methods. Service delivery methods were further subdivided into direct or indirect contact. Data showed Australian adolescents presently receive language intervention within secondary schools, health-based services, private practice, and juvenile justice settings. Service delivery methods used in these settings included one-on-one, pull-out methods, collaborative and consultative methods, and response to intervention.

Conclusion: High prevalence rates in juvenile justice and flexible learning programs suggest an unmet need for language intervention which in turn may reflect the need for additional language support in secondary school settings to address the school-to-prison pipeline. Factors that influence SLPs’ decisions for service delivery methods are largely unknown from available Australian literature. Further research across all settings is critical to guide best practice principles for SLP service delivery decisions for this population.

Note: This presentation will use data from the published article:

Utley, K.E., & Hopf, S.C. (2021): Service delivery methods for adolescent language intervention in Australia: A scoping review. Speech, Language and Hearing. Advance Online Publication.


Suzanne is currently the Course Lead for the blended online Master of Speech Pathology at Charles Sturt University. Suzanne is passionate about achieving equity in service provision for people with disability. Suzanne’s research seeks to better understand how barriers and facilitators for supporting people with communication disability are created and reinforced by individual, community, and societal factors.

Kellie holds a Bachelor of Social Science and has a professional background working with at-risk-youth in various roles. Kellie is currently completing a Masters in Speech Pathology at Charles Sturt University and is passionate about supporting individuals in their right to communicate.

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