Tag Archives: evidence based practice

I’m Ready – How to Prepare Your Child for Reading Success

I'm ready photo

The folks at The Hanen Centre kindly sent me a copy of I’m Ready – How to Prepare Your Child for Reading Success and asked me what I thought. Here in the UK advice about how to support literacy skills seems to change frequently, so I was interested to see what Janice Greenberg and Elaine Weitzman suggest.

The book has 6 chapters: Early Literacy, Conversation, Vocabulary, Story Comprehension, Print Knowledge and Sound Awareness. It’s visually appealing; the text is broken up by photographs and drawings. I read it over several days and found it easy to pick up where I’d left off. There’s a comprehensive list of recommended children’s books, coded in terms of how they can be used to support literacy. I think the ‘Try it out!’ checklists and reflection questions look useful. Continue reading

Parents want a speech and language therapist who has time for them

Post it notes, themes

I’ve been thinking about how parents choose a therapist for their child (I’ve recently set up my private practice). What are they looking for? What do they want? I used feedback I’ve received from parents to make a list, then arranged my ideas into themes.

First there are ‘logistical’ factors. Parents want an SLT who:

  • is punctual,
  • is professional – doesn’t cancel appointments at the last minute,
  • is reliable – does what she says she’ll do,
  • gives appointments at a convenient time,
  • communicates in a convenient way, for example by email,
  • completes reports in a reasonable time frame,
  • has time to listen to them.

Next there are ‘therapist’ factors. Parents want someone who:

  • can build rapport with their child, so therapy is fun & their child likes going,
  • can facilitate progress, so their child develops new skills,
  • is flexible, if something isn’t working she’ll try a different approach,
  • is responsive to changes in the child or family,
  • is experienced,
  • is consistent (this is a big one) they want the same therapist, not a different person every block or visit.

Interpersonal factors are also important. Parents value therapists who:

  • listen to their views and respect them,
  • believe in their child’s ability to make progress and offer hope,
  • can give advice and support around wider issues such as school placements,
  • can work well with the other professionals their child sees,
  • can admit when they don’t know something and ask a colleague,
  • are transparent, with an open, honest, straightforward attitude.

A magic wand and the evidence base

I thought of two more things that don’t really fit in above: the magic wand and the evidence base. Some parents want to find an SLT with a magic wand, someone who can simply make their child’s difficulty disappear. If you find one, let me know, I’d love to interview him or her for my podcast!

Finally, there’s evidence based therapy. I’m not sure how much of factor the evidence base is for parents. Although I’ve never been asked to support my therapy plan with research papers, I have been asked: do you think this will work, how has this approach worked with other children, and which approach will have the quickest result? So some parents are evaluating different therapy options, it’s really encouraging.

When I look over this list, I’m struck by how many of these depend on a therapist having enough time. Perhaps that’s the key, parents want a therapist who they feel, has time for them.

What have I missed? SLTs, what do your families tell you they’re happy with and what do they complain about? Parents, what is most important to you when you’re looking for a therapist? I’d love to hear from you!


Using Evidence-Based Practice in Real-Life

I’ve been thinking about how evidence-based practice is relevant to daily life as a therapist. I enjoyed reading Arlene McCurtin and Hazel Roddam’s Review, Evidence-based practice: SLTs under siege or opportunity for growth? The use and nature of research evidence in the profession, in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. Check it out!

Many clinicians and managers I’ve spoken to think that evidence-based practice (EBP) consists solely of evidence from systematic research. Which means the mantra – base service decisions on EBP, can seem punitive rather than supportive. Watch Kate Malcomess describe how clinicians can feel dismissed and devalued if they don’t have an evidence base, in her 5 minute lightning talk. McCurin and Roddam use a definition by Dollaghan (2007) that highlights there are three components of EBP: research evidence, the expertise of the clinician (internal to clinical practice), and patient values and preferences.

Continue reading

Helen Stringer: Therapy Ideas Podcast, episode 1

Listen to the first episode of the new Therapy Ideas podcast, a series of conversations with therapists from around the world. First up, I speak to Helen Stringer, from Newcastle University about using social media in evidence based practice, making the most of students on placement and practical ways of reflecting on the things we do at work everyday.

Listen now

Download the MP3 file, or subscribe in iTunes.

Therapy Ideas Live podcast

So, what did you think? Tweet me or leave a comment!