Objectives: The aim of this study was to identify and examine the impact of workplace factors on the implementation of EBP amongst speech pathologists who work with children with ASD. Specifically, we sought to (a) explore the views of speech pathologists who work with children with ASD about EBP; (b) identify and examine workplace factors which, in the participants’ opinions, acted as barriers or enablers to their provision of evidence-based speech pathology services to children with ASD; and (c) determine whether or not speech pathologists’ responses to workplace factors differed based on the type of workplace or their years of experience.
Methods: A total of 105 speech pathologists from across Australia completed a customised anonymous online questionnaire regarding their views and experiences of implementing evidence-based speech pathology services to children with ASD.
Results: The results indicated that although the vast majority of speech pathologists agree that EBP is necessary, they experienced multiple barriers to their implementation of EBP including workplace culture and support, lack of time, cost of EBP, and the availability and accessibility of EBP resources. There was no difference between speech pathologists working in private clinics and those working in organisations in terms of their support for EBP, however those working in organisations expressed stronger agreement that the management of waiting lists was a barrier to EBP implementation. Similarly, support for EBP did not differ based on years of professional experience, but experienced speech pathologists expressed greater confidence in advocating for EBP in their workplaces than did their junior colleagues.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that barriers to speech pathologists implementing EBP occur at both the individual and workplace level. The findings also provide practical examples of barriers that workplace managers, speech pathologists, and other staff can work together to address in support of the delivery of evidence-based speech pathology services to children with ASD.
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