Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences


Valerie Shafer

Committee Members

Mira Goral

Liat Seiger-Gardner

Subject Categories

Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Developmental Psychology | Online and Distance Education | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Psychological Phenomena and Processes | Speech Pathology and Audiology | Telemedicine


Professional Identity, Speech-Language Therapy, Perceived Competence, Telepractice


The present study aimed to understand how delivering pediatric treatment services via ‘teletherapy’ affected speech-language therapists (SLTs) during the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in 2020. SLTs reported on their experiences with the change from in-person to remote service delivery via two national surveys distributed at the start of the pandemic between April 2020 and July 2020. To explain SLTs’ survey responses, this dissertation introduced the Professional Adaptation Model (PA Model). The PA Model facilitated evaluation of the SLTs’ professional environment and the psychological constructs of their professional identity believed to influence the transition to speech-language teletherapy. Specifically, SLTs’ responses were aligned with three aspects of professional identity formation. Respondents were shown to take steps to prepare for teletherapy in ways recommended by ASHA; actions which signaled processes tied to their professional collective identity. Clinicians also adapted their relationships with parents within the context of speech-language therapy which reflected behaviors meant to sustain their professional relational identity. Lastly, professional individual identity processes were adjusted favoring professional adaptability (in the form of perceived competence) relative to the service delivery model used (in-person vs remote) and increased practice using teletherapy. Examination of the survey results through the lens of the PA Model supported the notion that professional identity processes are important psychological tools resulting in adaptive behaviors and attitudes in times of crisis in a professional environment.

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