Thursday, December 7, 2017

Developing a Phonological Awareness Curriculum: Reflections on an Implementation Science Framework

Evidence-based practice refers to the integration of best research evidence with clinical practice and patient values. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that having research evidence available does not always lead to practice change, and we need to understand why. Implementation Science focuses on the process of adopting evidence-based practices and sustaining intervention fidelity in everyday settings. The focus of this paper was to outline the development and implementation of a Tier 2 curriculum focusing on phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge in public pre-school settings.

The authors describe the evolution of their work around four phases. During the exploration phase, researchers collaborated with classrooms teachers who would be implementing the intervention to create an intervention that was low cost, and user friendly. In the preparation stage, materials and instructions were designed to align with the evidence. After an initial implementation phase, however, the expected treatment effect was not observed and another 4-phase cycle was initiated. In the second exploration and preparation phases, lesson plans were created to allow greater flexibility and modelling related to the evidence-based strategies but that also fit the setting better. Subsequent small-scale and large-scale implementation phases revealed significant gains as expected. Afterwards, teachers were asked to complete a survey and take part in a focus group in order to contribute to plans for the final, sustainment phase.

Implementation science has been identified as one way to bridge the researcher-clinician gap. Especially in the field of communication sciences and disorders where clinician friendly, evidence-based practices are needed, implementation research could be encouraged for the development of sustainable interventions.

Blogger: Meghan Vollebregt is a student in the combined MClSc/PhD program working under the supervision of Dr. Lisa Archibald. Meghan’s research examines the effectiveness of school-based clinician-researcher partnerships as a means to close the practice-research gap.

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