Better Together: Interprofessional Collaborative Practice

This month, AJSLP published six articles on Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (IPCP). This is a very trending topic right now across health professions. Recent grads may recognize the terminology, because many of them have received Interprofessional Education (IPE) while completing their coursework, where students from different professional programs (e.g. SLP, PT, OT, Nursing, Education) learn together and work together early on.

For the school-based SLP, taking the lead to develop a more interprofessional environment requires consideration of many moving pieces. It’s not just what you’re doing. It’s what the teachers, PTs, OTs, social workers, school psychologists, principals, administrators, and parents are doing or willing to do, as well (yay for trying to move a mountain, lol!) Just because it’s tough to implement in some settings, and tough to try something new, doesn’t mean it’s not doable, though. A single PT–SLP pair, for example, can make a substantial difference if they simply start identifying and modeling better collaboration. Or one SLP–Reading Specialist duo. Or one SLP plus SPED teacher working together to improve AAC implementation…

On to the articles—so, I won’t review each of these articles in-depth, because they don’t fit the TISLP “empirical research” requirement. This set is more like a series of tutorials or perspective pieces. Nonetheless, I’ll give you a little guidance on what’s contained within each, so you know what you may want to prioritize:

Addressing the Communication and Other Needs of Persons With Severe Disabilities Through Engaged Interprofessional Teams: Introduction to a Clinical Forum

  • This one’s the “Intro”. Helpful for definitions and explanation of IPCP.

The Trifocus Framework and Interprofessional Collaborative Practice in Severe Disabilities

  • This one reviews the literature on IPCP and students with severe disabilities. It’s the most dense of the series, because it considers a theoretical model behind IPE and provides snippets of information from tons of studies. It may be the most overwhelming of the set, unless you’re ready to think about IPCP more deeply.

Effective Team Practices: Interprofessional Contributions to Communication Issues With a Parent's Perspective

  • This one presents a literature summary and guidance on what good teams look like.

Comprehensive Literacy Instruction, Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, and Students With Severe Disabilities

  • This one’s all about how to collaborate among professionals for literacy instruction. It provides a really rich set of evidence-based treatment options, in addition to discussing how they can be implemented across professions. So if you aren’t an SLP who currently feels as involved as you could/should be in supporting your students in literacy growth, this is a great article.

Cotreatment as a Vehicle for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice: Physical Therapists and Speech-Language Pathologists Collaborating in the Care of Children With Severe Disabilities

  • This one’s authored by PTs and an SLP, and is a set of stories/examples in which the two professions may work together to treat clients.

Mary's Case: An Illustration of Interprofessional Collaborative Practice for a Child With Severe Disabilities

  • This one reads like a story—an individual case of IPCP for a child with a severe disability. It walks you through “Mary’s Case” from birth to adulthood—so no matter what your current setting, there should be a portion of the story you identify with.