I think most SLPs want to make sure what we’re doing in therapy is informed by the latest research in the field. However, as a full time school-based SLP, it can be a challenge to not only find the time to wade through the latest research articles, but also actually finding articles and evidence that are relevant to the topic at hand! It also can be prohibitively expensive – we often have access to thousands of journals in grad school, but once we graduate and are in the field, we have to pay large sums to access anything beyond the ASHA journals.
Thankfully, Meredith Poore Harold, PhD, CCC-SLP, has a fantastic solution to this problem! She is the author behind The Informed SLP, a website and series of email newsletters, whose mission is to connect clinicians and scientists with each other’s work.
She believes that both the practitioners and scientists in our field are working towards the common goal of improving communication for all, but sadly, there is often a lack of communication between scientists and practicing SLPs. Scientists are developing millions of dollars worth of funded research, all with the purpose of helping advance clinical practice, but most practicing SLPs don’t see it, and don’t even know about it for almost two decades after the work has been completed! Across all health fields (including speech-language pathology), it takes around 17 years for something that’s been demonstrated in research to make its way into practice. (Source)
So how does The Informed SLP help solve this problem? Each month, Meredith and her team review over 80-100 articles, and narrows them down to 5-10 that have immediately applicable results for school based SLPs. She then provides a concise (a few hundred words or less!) and helpful review that gets straight to the point of each article selected.
I have had a subscription to the Informed SLP since 2017, and have found it amazingly helpful! I love the short and concise article reviews that I can immediately put to use in my practice.
For example, one of the reviews covered this study: Storkel, H.L., Voelmle, K., Fierro, V., Flake, K., Fleming, K.K., Romine, R.S. (2016) Interactive Book Reading to Accelerate Word Learning by Kindergarten Children With Specific Language Impairment: Identifying an Adequate Intensity and Variation in Treatment Response. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
The article review included a short summary of the study, as well as the results. I found it fascinating that students in the study with developmental language disorders required 36 different exposures to new vocabulary words in order to learn and retain them! (Six exposures in each word of six consecutive therapy sessions) It really made me think about how I only use a book for a session or two, and made me reconsider using them over multiple sessions instead!
So, how can you take advantage of The Informed SLP? For a low monthly price, you can access both the current month’s article reviews, as well as the entire archive. I personally purchased my own monthly subscription, and find it to be an incredible value.