Purpose:Our aim was to develop consensus on the definition and operationalization of communicative participation (CP)in 2- to 8-year-old children with language disorders (LDs).A clear definition and operationalization can facilitate the discussion about children’s communication problems in daily life between parents and professionals.
Method: In an online Delphi study, anonymized thoughts and opinions were collected on the definition and operationalization of CP in young children with LD. The 47 Delphi panel members were Dutch parents, young adults with LDs, teachers and assistants, speech-language pathologists, clinical linguists,and clinical researchers. Thematic content analysis was used to develop a concept definition and items operationalizing CP.The Delphi panel rated the suitability of concept definitions using a 7-point Likert scale. Concept definitions were revised with feedback from the Delphi panel until consensus was achieved. The Delphi panel rated items on how well they operationalize CP, using the same Likert scale.
Results: The majority (79%) of the Delphi panel indicated that the essence of CP was captured by the definition:“CP is understanding and being understood in a social context,by applying verbal and non-verbal communication skills.”In addition, 33 behavioral items were developed.Conclusion:This study resulted in strong consensus on the definition of CP between Dutch parents and professionals.Items were developed that can inform speech-language pathologists on the type of questions to ask a child’s parents or teacher when discussing CP. Further research is needed on how the items can best be used in clinical practice.