Budget Cuts: Research Resources
A substantial amount of research supports the need for speech, language and hearing services in schools. Resources such as the ones below, emphasize that need and can be used by audiologists and speech-language pathologists to enhance evidence-based practice—the integration of client/patient values, clinician expertise, and current best evidence—to fortify their services, and elucidate the strengths, and the unique combination of qualifications inherent in the professions.
Compendium of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Guidelines and Systematic Reviews
ASHA's National Center for Evidence-Based Practice (N-CEP) posts internally and externally completed systematic reviews as well as related clinical practice guidelines. The systematic reviews provide a synthesis of the current best evidence about a specific topic area (e.g., Service Delivery Systematic Reviews) whereas the guidelines assist clinicians in providing the best services to their clients (e.g., Service Delivery Guidelines).
ASHA's Surveys and Information Team (SIT) compiles and publishes member response data on trends and issues in the workplace that serve as indicators of the state of professions. These data can be used to determine the most pressing professional concerns in addition to highlights in the workplace. Topics such as workforce and workload, caseload, and salary are covered in the Schools surveys.
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (LSHSS)
This ASHA journal provides peer-reviewed information on school-related issues in a manner that clarifies the relationship between research and practice issues. This synthesis of basic research, scientific research for the development of knowledge, applied research, and scientific research used to address a social or economic problem, address the "why" and the "how" underlying the services provided; furthermore, the continuum of services needed to facilitate generalization of skills obtained in therapy is described in various ways across several articles.
Data Accountability Center (DAC): Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) Data
Data from the most recent Part B Child Count Data (2007) show that 19% of children had speech or language impairments, 1.2% had hearing impairments, and 43% had a specific learning disability. (Since some children with specific learning disabilities have difficulty in the written language domain, speech, language and hearing services should be considered for that population.)
National Data Reports
A number of national longitudinal studies have been completed that provide a comprehensive overview of the communication, social, and academic development of various cohorts of children. Quite a few of those studies, such as the ones listed below, underscore the need for speech, language and hearing services in schools.
National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES)
These surveys provide data on national educational activities for individuals in school through adulthood. Data were collected in several categories, including school readiness. Within the category of school readiness, emerging literacy and numeracy skills and speech development were captured as developmental indicators.
Early Childhood Longitudinal Program (ECLS-B, ECLS-K)
This is a compilation of studies that have examined child development, school readiness, and early school experiences. Spoken and written language skills were assessed in both studies. Information specific to speech and language services is available on the restricted data use CD.
Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS)
This study, which was designed specifically to follow preschool special education services, revealed that close to half (46%) of preschoolers with disabilities were identified as having a speech or language impairment as their primary disability, whereas 0.6% had hearing impairment as their primary disability (Markowitz et al., 2006).
Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS)
The SEELS data consist of national characteristics, experiences, and outcomes of elementary and middle school students with disabilities. A third of the children who participated in the study had a primary diagnosis of speech or language impairment, whereas 1.2% of children had hearing impairment as their primary disability classification (Wagner & Blackorby, 2002).
National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLST-2)
This study provides an overview of how secondary students with disabilities perform academically on a national level. Findings from this study revealed "a considerable gap exists between the academic achievement of youth with disabilities and their peers in the general population in reading, mathematics, science, and social studies" (Wagner, Newman, Cameto & Levine, 2006, p.22). The performance of students with speech, language or hearing impairments on a standardized test measuring the aforementioned academic areas shows that the majority of the students in those categories perform greater than one standard deviation below the mean (Wagner et al., 2006).