Speech sound disorders are a common problem that affects a broad category of individuals. The problem’s relevance is evidenced by the fact that there are numerous research papers devoted to investigating the issue and outlining the most effective methods to provide care to such people and improve the quality of their lives. The current case involves a 9.6-year boy Jeremy who has a sound speech disorder whose parents want to start an effective therapy to assist him. For this reason, it is vital to select the most effective and practical method available today. To make the conclusion and provide recommendations, two papers analyzing existing interventions are analyzed and compared. It will help to make a conclusion resting on the credible evidence and results of research.
The article by Gabel et al. (2013) focuses on describing and analyzing the effectiveness of telepractice speech-language therapy for school-age children. Participants for the investigation were taken from a larger school-age telepractice pilot project in Ohio public school districts (Gabel et al., 2013). The ASHA K-12 NOMS database was employed to work with information and use it for different purposes (Gabel et al., 2013). The investigators selected 71 individuals aged 5 to 15 years to conduct their study (Gabel et al., 2013). The procedure presupposed speech-language pathologists using a telepractice delivery model to work with children who have communication impairment (Gabel et al., 2013). NOMS system was used to collect and process all data acquired during the research. The model also presupposed using assistants to ensure services are delivered appropriately. The results gathered in the course of the investigation were analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the method.
The second study performed by Grogan-Johnson et al. (2013) employed another approach to analyzing the effectiveness of telepractice. The researchers conducted a randomized control trial among the participants recruited from public school districts (Grogan-Johnson et al., 2013). As a result, 14 participants met the inclusion criteria and took part in the study (Grogan-Johnson et al., 2013). The researchers randomly created two groups provided with side-by-side or telepractice conditions to compare outcomes and conclude about the effectiveness of the intervention (Grogan-Johnson et al., 2013). The groups had similar characteristics and received the same level of care, which was important for the research (Grogan-Johnson et al., 2013). The researchers were blind in distributing children, which impacted the credibility of results (Grogan-Johnson et al., 2013). All individuals received intervention in the same room to avoid differences in external factors (Grogan-Johnson et al., 2013). Comparing results, the researchers managed to acquire a clear vision of what methods can be considered more effective.
In general, it is possible to conclude that the article by Grogan-Johnson et al. (2013) has a stronger methodology than the study by Gabel et al. (2013). Performing the randomized control trial, investigators managed to minimize the negative influence of external factors and increase the objectivity of findings. Using two groups acquiring different interventions, the researchers collected data vital for making conclusions and comparing the effectiveness of particular measures to assist children with speech sound disorders. The selected methodology also meets the formulated research question and helps to create recommendations on how to provide care to this cohort of patients and what interventions might be preferable to attain improved outcomes.
Both analyzed papers have their strong and weak areas that should be considered. Thus, the work by Gabel et al. (2013) works with a big sample, which allows investigators to analyze the issue and the effectiveness of the selected method comprehensively. Using a high number of participants also helps to make more relevant conclusions about how specific processes occur and what factors might influence them. Another strength of the paper is the summary of students’ progress and its analysis (Gabel et al., 2013). It helps to understand the dynamics and determine the effectiveness of a particular intervention. At the same time, the authors also focus on using the NOMS database to acquire credible information and use it while discussing different ways to improve participants’ quality of life. It contributes to a better understanding of the discussed problem and how it is considered in the research.
The second article also has obvious strengths contributing to its increased significance for the practice. First of all, Grogan-Johnson et al. (2013) conducted a randomized control trial, which can be viewed as an effective method to analyze and control factors and compare the effects of various measures. A low number of participants (14) is compensated by the well-thought-out approach to selecting individuals for the research and dividing them into groups. The establishment of two control cohorts is another strong aspect of the paper. They allow the investigator to collect data and use it when discussing the effectiveness of a particular method or intervention. The attention to the treatment procedures, along with their description and comparison, also helps to understand their influence on patients and how they can be used in different settings (Grogan-Johnson et al., 2013). In such a way, both papers have strong aspects increasing their value and allowing to use them when considering the current scenario.
At the same time, some weak aspects found in the papers should be mentioned. For instance, the research by Gabel et al. (2013) lacks the description of why there is a difference between the telepractice group and NOMS database students. The researchers state that the collected data evidences the individuals belonging to different cohorts; however, they outline that “the reason for this difference has not been identified (Gabel et al., 2013, p. 49). It means that there is a need for additional research to determine the causes promoting the emergence of these divergences and how they should be used in real-life conditions. At the same time, the high number of participants can sometimes serve as the barrier to better analysis of findings as there is a higher risk of mistake or data corruption. In such a way, the paper has some weaknesses that might influence its relevance.
Speaking about the second research article, several disputable elements should also be mentioned. First, the sample size selected by the authors, 14 individuals, might be too small for making conclusions and translating them into the broader populations (Grogan-Johnson et al., 2013). It is expected that by dividing participants into two different groups, researchers can compare outcomes and provide credible conclusions. However, for similar studies, a bigger sample can be recommended as it will help to achieve data saturation and void any claims about the reliability of findings. However, comparing to the first study, the discovered weakness can be viewed as less significant because of the correct choice of the data collection method and its processing to acquire results. Furthermore, using the randomized control trial, Grogan-Johnson et al. (2013) managed to minimize the role of external and subjective factors in their study, which increases its applicability to different real-life scenarios.
State of Evidence
Both articles under research focus on investigating speech sound disorders and how they can be addressed by using the current methods. At the moment, there are numerous works delving into the problem and discussing the use of various interventions to help patients with this problem. Telepractie is recognized as one of the effective means of assisting people in their recovery and improving the quality of their lives. Its positive effects are evidenced by recent investigations in the area and real-life examples. The selected papers also contribute to broadening the existing body of evidence linked to the problem. Both Gabel et al. (2013) and Grogan-Johnson et al. (2013) discuss the major peculiarities of telepractice, how it helps students and children to improve the quality of their lives and acquire desired outcomes.
The article by Grogan-Johnson et al. (2013) relies on the credible evidence acquired from the field research using a determined sample of participants. Using the Robey five-stage model, it is possible to determine that the project is on the third phase, as the authors conduct a randomized trial to state the efficiency of the selected measure. It is a vital step for moving to another stage, presupposing working closely with large populations to determine who might benefit from the offered intervention. The investigation done by Gabel et al. (2013) has a similar state of evidence, as it is focused on analyzing the difference between the NOMS database and telepractice students to determine the effectiveness of a particular measure. It means that the results can help to create a basis for additional research and acquire new, more solid evidence.
Both analyzed articles also have some gaps and limitations, meaning that they can be further developed to improve the management of the described condition. For instance, the work by Gabel et al. (2013) relies on descriptive information provided by NOMS data sets. For this reason, the real factors influencing students’ academic performance and successes remain underresearched, which might result in the corruption of findings and their relevance. At the same time, the study does not focus on the time and duration of procedures, which is also vital for future recommendations (Gabel et al., 2013). For this reason, to fill these gaps and improve the results, it is critical to introduce control groups with the desired characteristics to control the research and guarantee that no credibility issues or barriers limit the applicability of the study.
The second paper also has some gaps that should be eliminated to create the basis for new projects. The number of participants is the most significant limitation of the study, which might impact the relevance and credibility of the findings. The authors say that “although the sample size small, statistical significance testing takes into account sample size (Grogan-Johnson et al., 2013, p. 217). However, to continue the investigation of the problem and ensure credible information is acquired, it is vital to improve the sampling strategy and enroll more people in the research. It will contribute to the establishment of a more solid evidence base and the acquisition of more statistically relevant information that can be used in future research papers or to determine who might benefit from the proposed measures and interventions.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Altogether, the previously analyzed papers are applicable to the discussed patient’s case. The collected evidence shows that the telepractice model of delivery can be an effective method to improving speech outcomes for children. Both articles prove that for children with such problems, the use of side-by-side delivery models and telepractice demonstrates similar effects (Gabel et al., 2013; Grogan-Johnson et al., 2013). There is no substantial difference between individuals, meaning that both such interventions can be used to assist a person in recovery and improve the quality of his/her life. Moreover, the existing evidence shows that these two models are interchangeable as children directly receiving speech-language services can also acquire them using telepractice and demonstrate significant progress (Gabel et al., 2013). Under these conditions, parents can be recommended using any available tools to attain the desired outcome.
Thus, it is possible to recommend them and Jeremy using a telepractice approach. As far as there are no differences in analyzed methods’ effectiveness, other factors should be considered. Thus, Jeremy lives two hours drive from the clinic, meaning that delivery of services in the traditional way might be complex and demand extra efforts from the child’s parents. For this reason, using alternative options and technologies, it is possible to attain a positive effect. Parents might save time and costs, while Jeremy might benefit from telepractice and the improvement of his state. In such a way, using the offered articles, it is possible to recommend implementing innovational delivery methods. They will guarantee the same results but also will be more convenient for all family members, which is another vital factor that should be considered when discussing possible treatment methods. The scenario proves the importance of investigations in this field and the need to develop such approaches.
Gabel, R., Grogan-Johnson, S., Alvares, R., Bechstein, L., & Taylor, J. (2013). A field study of telepractice for school intervention using the ASHA NOMS K-12 database. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 35(1), 44–53.
Grogan-Johnson, S., Schmidt, A. M., Schenker, J., Alvares, R., Rowan, L. E., & Taylor, J. (2013). A comparison of speech sound intervention delivered by telepractice and side-by-side service delivery models. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 34(4), 210–220.