Keeping Up With Research The day starts with a parent conference, followed by seven treatment sessions, two team meetings, a response-to-intervention session, a phone conference with an outside service provider, and a meeting with a classroom teacher. Beyond all of those activities, you have six Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to draft and 14 progress ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   June 01, 2011
Keeping Up With Research
Author Notes
  • Deborah Adamczyk, MA, CCC-SLP, school services director, can be reached at dadamczyk@asha.org.
    Deborah Adamczyk, MA, CCC-SLP, school services director, can be reached at dadamczyk@asha.org.×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / School Matters
School Matters   |   June 01, 2011
Keeping Up With Research
The ASHA Leader, June 2011, Vol. 16, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.16072011.16
The ASHA Leader, June 2011, Vol. 16, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.16072011.16
The day starts with a parent conference, followed by seven treatment sessions, two team meetings, a response-to-intervention session, a phone conference with an outside service provider, and a meeting with a classroom teacher. Beyond all of those activities, you have six Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to draft and 14 progress reports to develop. So goes the typical day of a school-based speech-language pathologist! The question is, how do you even think about keeping up with the research in the field? Is it really all that important? Is there anything evolving from research that could change your practice?
You already use research in your daily practice. You collect progress data for IEP goals to determine if the IEP needs to be revised; you respond to classroom teachers’ questions about your students’ vocabulary levels; the principal may ask how your caseload compares to caseloads in other states or regions; and parents may question why you want to decrease direct services to a student and increase indirect services. What evidence are you using to make these decisions? Perhaps an advocate may ask what research says about the approach to pragmatic language treatment you are using with a student on your roster. You may be concerned about a student’s lack of progress and want to consider other methodology. Keeping up with and understanding research can support your position and decisions.
Understanding how to access, interpret, and apply research can help you to handle any of these situations. There are a variety of ways to do this. First, look to the benefits of your ASHA membership: the association’s website is a resource. E-newsletters are available from the academics and research, audiology, schools, health care, and research units. You can sign up to have any or all of these e-newsletters delivered directly to your e-mail.
ASHA also provides a wide variety of research information that may be of interest, including an introduction to evidence-based practice, evidence maps, and a compendium of guidelines and systematic reviews. Of particular interest to school-based members is Evidence-Based Practice in Schools.
Additional ASHA resources include: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research; Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools; and special interest group Perspectives articles. Join a special interest group to access the Perspectives publications, which often provide excellent summaries of research.
The bigger concern expressed by many ASHA members is how to find the time to access research. Many options are available:
  • Create an SLP “book club” designed to share current research. Each member could identify and summarize a research article to share with other members.

  • Ask administrators for time during in-service days to access, share, and discuss research.

  • Keep a stack of articles in an easily accessible place. As you sit on the sidelines of a baseball game, ride the subway or bus, or wait for an appointment, pull out an article.

  • Attend a conference. Medicaid funds may be used to support professional development; ask administrators to use these funds to pay for your attendance at conferences.

  • Download some apps for your smartphone (e.g., Pubsearch, Articlesearch) and use them to research specific topics.

  • Join ASHA’s discussion site on LinkedIn to follow conversations about practice questions.

  • Follow ASHASphere and read the blogs on professional issues.

  • Read The ASHA Leader, available in print and online.

  • Follow ASHA on Facebook. Many of the discussions focus on practice issues.

  • Read an ASHA policy document, journal, or issue of Perspectives and earn CEUs.

  • Join your state’s local professional organizations and attend their meetings and conferences.

  • Consider doing a single-subject research project, with support from your local university communication sciences and disorders program or your graduate program faculty.

  • Connect with colleagues. Contact a friend from graduate school, another local SLP, a former university professor, or an author to ask about research on a specific topic.

  • Request funding for your district to establish an SLP working group to review the research over the summer and recommend promising practices.

  • Develop a project to move district SLPs to a 3:1 service delivery model. Under that model, the fourth week can be used to collect information about evidence-based practice.

The days are busy, but having knowledge about best practices based on research ultimately enhances your practice and allows you to substantiate the decisions you make with parents, administrators, and colleagues.
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June 2011
Volume 16, Issue 7