Mapping Your Way to Evidence-Based Practice Want a fast, easy way to find the most up-to-date, evidence-based approaches to treating students? Read on. School Matters
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School Matters  |   November 01, 2017
Mapping Your Way to Evidence-Based Practice
Author Notes
  • Tracy Schooling, MA, CCC-SLP, is associate director of ASHA’s National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders. tschooling@asha.org
    Tracy Schooling, MA, CCC-SLP, is associate director of ASHA’s National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders. tschooling@asha.org×
  • Mariel Solomon, MS, CCC-SLP, is a clinical research associate in ASHA’s National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders. msolomon@asha.org
    Mariel Solomon, MS, CCC-SLP, is a clinical research associate in ASHA’s National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders. msolomon@asha.org×
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / School Matters
School Matters   |   November 01, 2017
Mapping Your Way to Evidence-Based Practice
The ASHA Leader, November 2017, Vol. 22, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.22112017.34
The ASHA Leader, November 2017, Vol. 22, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.22112017.34
Working in schools means juggling the joy of student sessions with the demands of documentation, IEP meetings, administrative tasks—and even bus duty.
We all have those days when a referral lands on our desk to assess a student with a condition we don’t typically see and wonder if our evaluation materials are valid and reliable. Or we get assigned to a middle school, and we need to determine which intervention protocols middle-schoolers find acceptable.
Other times, we face cases resistant to our usual interventions or we need to defend our role to parents. These situations require searching for the best evidence-based approaches, adding to our already long list of to-dos. So what to do?
ASHA has a tool that can save you considerable time and effort in finding evidence: a set of evidence maps that provide synopses of clinical research related to providing services and to assessing and treating various communication disorders.

Nearly 67 percent of educational audiologists and more than 75 percent of school-based SLPs recognize the importance of EBP and consider it a standard of practice.

Who has time?
Although evidence can help you meet many treatment challenges head-on, other pressing matters tend to suck up the hours in a work day—and probably beyond. This is why ASHA has compiled a go-to set of research and evidence-based practice (EBP) resources to easetime challenges.
Earlier this year, ASHA’s National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders (N-CEP) fielded a survey on members’ knowledge, attitudes and practices surrounding EBP to more than 1,000 audiologists and speech-language pathologists in a variety of work settings.
According to results, nearly 67 percent of educational audiologists and more than 75 percent of school-based SLPs recognize the importance of EBP and consider it a standard of practice.
School-district administrators also emphasize and expect school-based communication sciences and disorders pros to engage in evidence-based activities, according to 93 percent of respondents. In addition, almost all survey participants indicated that school administrators, families and teachers asked them at some point to justify and demonstrate the value of their services.
Educational audiologists and school-based SLPs think adhering to EBP doesn’t create unrealistic demands on them, but they acknowledge some barriers to engaging in EBP. More than 60 percent of audiologists and 75 percent of SLPs indicate insufficient time as a barrier, and 62 percent of school-based respondents say the cost of continuing education creates the main obstacle to researching and implementing evidence-based intervention strategies in every situation.

The site includes a free, searchable online tool to access these maps, complete with filters that help quickly locate the most relevant information for clinical questions or situations.

Find your EBP way
Here’s where N-CEP—with the launch of evidence maps—has stepped in to help. A time-crunched audiologist or SLP in any setting can turn to evidence maps as a solid starting point for a multitude of clinical questions.
For instance, school-based audiologists or SLPs with a referral for a new student with a craniofacial anomaly can turn to the cleft lip and palate map to find out more on visual feedback in speech treatment or for guidance on how often to monitor the student’s hearing status.
Each map is organized around and highlights the importance of the three pillars of EBP—external scientific evidence, clinical expertise and client perspectives. To develop the maps, N-CEP conducts systematic searches of the scientific literature and identifies applicable clinical practice guidelines, reviews and individual studies examining client/caregiver satisfaction with services.
N-CEP then appraises individual articles for quality, highlights and summarizes key recommendations and findings, and arranges them by clinical topic.
The evidence maps site includes a free, searchable online tool to access these maps, complete with filters that help quickly locate the most relevant information for clinical questions or situations. The home page features new evidence. A series of videos can help you get started using the maps.
Educational audiologists and school-based SLPs face challenges and time demands. Finding ways to incorporate EBP into sessions doesn’t have to be one of them. This comprehensive and time-saving resource helps you demonstrate the value of your services, weigh various treatment and assessment options, and integrate evidence into your clinical decision-making process.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
November 2017
Volume 22, Issue 11