January 9, 2017

Suzanne Churcher's Churchill Trust Report has been published

In August 2016, Suzanne Churcher visited my colleagues and I at Charles Sturt University as part of her Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. Her project was titled "Early intervention for speech disorder not just desirable but essential". Details of her visit are here.
Her report from the visit has just been published here: http://www.wcmt.org.uk/users/suzannechurcher2016. Here is a quote from page 9 of the report
  • There was ubiquitous agreement that the age of the child was not a primary factor in the clinical decision making process, with regard to exclusion of target of intervention. 
  • Like the UK, Australia sometimes has to respond to resource demands and pressures but this is not due to evidence of ineffectiveness in this age group. 
  • There is evidence that both Australia and the UK respond to need using approaches that may have similar theoretical underpinning. This needs further investigation and research. 
  • Australia is using a wider range of evidence based interventions with children of all ages than both my experience and the current research would suggest. 
  • SLPs in Australia reported regular easier access to research. They have three professional publications; SpeakOUT, the Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology (JCPSLP) and the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (IJSLP) and online access to full articles. 
  • It is vital that we ensure that service development does not exclude children from intervention based on a lack of empirical data. 
  • Intervention for speech in the preschool population requires continued development of an evidence base. 
  • We must continue to strengthen our more systematic approach to the assessment and intervention of children with SLCN (speech, language and communication needs). 
  • The profession as a whole will benefit from international collaboration and the development of EBP (evidence-based practice) across the age ranges and, on occasion, disciplines. 
  • Increased collaboration between universities and practicing clinicians is highly recommended.