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Implementation fidelity refers to the degree to which an intervention or programme adheres to its original design. This paper examines implementation fidelity in the Sound Start Study, a clustered randomised controlled trial of computer-assisted support for children with speech sound disorders (SSD).
Sixty-three children with SSD in 19 early childhood centres received computer-assisted support (Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter [PFSS] – Australian version). Educators facilitated the delivery of PFSS targeting phonological error patterns identified by a speech-language pathologist. Implementation data were gathered via (1) the computer software, which recorded when and how much intervention was completed over 9 weeks; (2) educators’ records of practice sessions; and (3) scoring of fidelity (intervention procedure, competence and quality of delivery) from videos of intervention sessions.
Less than one-third of children received the prescribed number of days of intervention, while approximately one-half participated in the prescribed number of intervention plays. Computer data differed from educators’ data for total number of days and plays in which children participated; the degree of match was lower as data became more specific. Fidelity to intervention procedures, competency and quality of delivery was high.
Implementation fidelity may impact intervention outcomes and so needs to be measured in intervention research; however, the way in which it is measured may impact on data.


School of Allied Health

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Journal Article

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