A Pilot Study on Professional Documentation: Do We Write From a Strengths Perspective? Purpose There is growing evidence supporting the use of strengths-based practices when serving families. The purpose of this study was to examine the use of strengths-based approaches in the context of written professional documentation. We specifically explored whether or not interdisciplinary clinicians in one university-based medical center clinic write from ... Research Note
Newly Published
Research Note  |   June 20, 2017
A Pilot Study on Professional Documentation: Do We Write From a Strengths Perspective?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Matthew J. Braun
    University of Kansas Medical Center, Center for Child Health and Development, Kansas City
  • Winnie Dunn
    University of Kansas Medical Center, Department of Occupational Therapy Education, Kansas City
  • Scott D. Tomchek
    University of Kansas Medical Center, Department of Occupational Therapy Education, Kansas City
    University of Louisville, Weisskopf Center, KY
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Matthew J. Braun: matt@newballoonkc.com
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Lynn Williams
    Associate Editor: Lynn Williams×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Newly Published / Research Note
Research Note   |   June 20, 2017
A Pilot Study on Professional Documentation: Do We Write From a Strengths Perspective?
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0117
History: Received June 28, 2016 , Revised January 16, 2017 , Accepted February 16, 2017
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0117
History: Received June 28, 2016; Revised January 16, 2017; Accepted February 16, 2017

Purpose There is growing evidence supporting the use of strengths-based practices when serving families. The purpose of this study was to examine the use of strengths-based approaches in the context of written professional documentation. We specifically explored whether or not interdisciplinary clinicians in one university-based medical center clinic write from a strengths perspective (e.g., writing focuses on abilities rather than on deficits) when documenting child behavior in autism diagnostic clinics.

Method We gathered narrative-based writing samples (a total of 299 phrases) from 20 patient reports. Using a coding system developed by the research team (intraclass correlation coefficient = .801 on final definitions and coding system), we analyzed the extent to which interdisciplinary clinicians included strengths-based language (e.g., language that emphasizes a person's strengths rather than limitations) in their written documentation. An independent researcher coded a random sample (20% of entire sample) of the data to document reliability of the coded data (97% interrater agreement).

Results Our findings indicated that clinicians in our study used deficit-based language significantly more than neutral and strengths-based language in written documentation.

Conclusion This preliminary evidence suggests a need to reflect upon our own understanding of strengths-based practices and the way professionals write about children in clinical documentation.

Acknowledgment
We would like to thank the Departments of Hearing and Speech, Occupational Therapy Education, and the Center for Child Health and Development at the University of Kansas Medical Center for their ongoing support in this project. We would also like to acknowledge our interdisciplinary team of professionals who helped us develop, test, and validate our coding system. Your work is much appreciated.
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