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Research Guidelines


 Research Guidelines

Since there is little research for early intervention, guidelines will help parents learn what to look for when reading through the available research.   Parents will be more equipped to make educated decisions on what is practical and effective and what issues still needs to have more supporting research. The guidelines will provide a hierarchy of levels of evidence to compare or judge the reliability of the study.    From highest (best) to lowest (worst) levels of evidence, the guidelines to use when reading research are as follows:

         Randomized design comparing two or more treatments where the authors, clinicians, and parents do not know at the time of the study who got what. (highest level of evidence)

         Randomized design comparing two or more treatments

         Non-randomized treatment design, where treatment vs. no treatment provides the least amount of evidence, but at least there is a large enough group

         Single case studies where one or a couple of children participate in a therapy without any controls; there may be pre and post testing, but the treatment has limited application. There's no large scale evidence that it works.

         Expert Opinion This is when there is no research;  this is the lowest level, but when there is nothing else, it is the next best thing (Harbour & Miller, 2001).


Evidence-based practice and treatment efficacy research is constantly evolving to support best clinical practice. There definitely needs to be more research in the area of early intervention which need to be supported by "standards which [are] accepted principles of patient care based on a high degree of certainty, strong evidence, and guidelines [which] reflect a moderate degree of certainty (, 2004).


A Helping Hand

American Speech-Language Hearing Association [] (2004)  Date accessed:  March 20, 2004

Harbour, R. & Miller, J.  (2001).  A New System for Grading Recommendations in Evidence Based Guidelines. British Medical Journal, 323: 334-336.