Staff views on supporting evidence based practice for children with ASD Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE:A variety of empirically supported interventions are available for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but previous research suggests that their selection and use within an evidence-based practice (EBP) framework in clinical settings is challenging. To date, research has primarily focused on identifying individual, organisational, and contextual barriers to EBP rather than identifying collaborative solutions to these barriers through consultation with staff. The aim of our study was to explore staff views on supporting EBP in their work with children with ASD. MATERIALS AND METHODS:We conducted five focus groups involving 29 professional (e.g., speech pathologists, teachers), paraprofessional (e.g., childcare workers), and managerial staff to explore their views. Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS:Two central themes, comprising six categories, emerged to account for the participants' views. Initiative and Effort accounted for the range of creative strategies staff had developed to support their engagement in EBP. They also expressed the need for A Better Way involving organisational-wide support such as this engagement, including peer-to-peer mentoring. CONCLUSIONS:The findings suggest that an organisational-wide model to support engagement in EBP, with peer-to-peer mentoring at its foundation, may provide a desirable, ecologically valid, and acceptable model. Implications for Rehabilitation Clinicians and educators recognise the importance of evidence-based practice. Efforts to support evidence-based practice have focused mostly on access to research evidence. Clinicians and educators in this study were developing their own strategies based on intuition. They identified a need for organisation-wide approaches to supporting evidence-based practice. Peer-to-peer mentoring appears to be an acceptable and viable strategy.

publication date

  • 2019