Tomorrow, I will be starting my new role at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists - Research and Development Officer. Don't panic, I'm still available for private assessments and therapy, as it's a part-time role. I can't wait to get started! It's all about evidence-based practice, helping therapists to access and use research more effectively, and helping researchers to focus on the most useful stuff for the profession.
I feel very strongly about ensuring that the therapy approaches I use are supported by sound research evidence. I want to be sure that the families I work with are getting a reliable, effective service. Luckily, this is typically the view-point of my speech therapy friends and colleagues too, and is recognised across the profession as best-practice. However, unfortunately that's not always the case. The recent news of this trade protection case in America is a sad example of how parents' trust of 'professionals' can be so easily abused. Parents mustn't be afraid to ask therapists what the evidence is for the approaches they are using with their child. It can be a bit confusing, as there are lots of things which haven't been researched very much yet, so we do often have to rely on our own clinical knowledge and experience. However, plenty of therapy approaches do indeed have research to support (or sometimes disprove) their effectiveness. 'What Works?' is a great resource from The Communication Trust which gives summaries of the evidence behind a range of speech and language therapy approaches. An interesting read on some of the more controversial approaches with a lack of evidence can be found over at Caroline Bowen's excellent website.
I'm so excited to start my new role and hope that I am able to leave a useful drop or two in the vast ocean that is evidence-based speech and language therapy. For now though, Antiques Roadshow and an early night...it's been a while since I've had an early Monday morning start!