One of the perks of still being in graduate school means I have access to any and all journal articles since the dawn of time. Rachel at “Talks Just Fine” suggested a new blog installment where other #slpbloggers link up, and review current research within their scope of practice. I am all about this new venture! So, here is my first review of current research.
Spencer, Schuele, Guillot, and Lee (2011) discussed the role of phonemic awareness in early literacy instruction, and how Speech-Language Pathologists have demonstrated increased ability for such skills. For instance, Spencer et al. (2008) evaluated teachers’ ability to perform phoneme segmentation; while teacher’s were accurate 55% of the time, SLPs were 75% accurate. So, why did the SLPs outperform classroom teachers?
In the current article (Spencer et al., 2011), the authors recruited 196 SLP undergraduate and graduate students at four Universities in the U.S.; Spencer et al. (2008) participants were the comparison group. Paper based phonemic awareness tests were administered to students which evaluated (1) phoneme segmentation, (2) phoneme identification, and (3) phoneme isolation. The article also evaluated the type of coursework students had taken and how they contribute to phonemic awareness skill.
Overall, Spencer and colleagues (2011) found a phonetics course contributes the most to phonemic awareness skills, and may account for the discrepancies Spencer et al. (2008) found when SLPs were compared to educators.
The transition from Speech-Language Pathology graduate student to an independent, unsupervised SLP is an awkward time. I’m frolicking through my last internship of graduate school, and I can’t help by notice the differences in my clinical and professional skills. The promise of learning from a new supervisor coupled with the triumph of securing an SLP-CF position in the fall heightens my self-awareness.
The awkwardness reminds me of my teenage years, which was almost 6 years ago (once upon a time, really). Still living at home, drivers license in hand, and plans with friends made. Keys at the ready, I was free as a bird…after I consulted with my father of course. The gatekeeper. The Oz of Curfew. It’s easy to overlook those pesky details of asking permission or seeking advice when you think you are standing on your own two feet. This same awkwardness has followed me into SLP graduate school. When confronted with 30 new clients, inclusion of technology, and finding evidence, how quickly I’m reminded of my unsure footings. Yet, those footings are stronger than I imagined.
I’ve posted statistics, tips, ideas, and resources for applying to Speech-Language Pathology graduate school. For those of you who read them and used the ideas, thank you! For those of you who did not, that’s OK, we can still be friends. I will get us one of those friendship necklaces. BFFs. I digress.
This post is intended for those who were accepted into an SLP graduate program and are anxiously and excitedly awaiting to start. Those were the days. When you wake up without a constant twinge of nervousness, contemplating if you will get in anywhere. TallyHo! Now you can breathe a little easier knowing you have a place to call home for the next 2-3 years. A place that will shape you, mold you, make you into a real-life Speech-Language Pathologist. Yippee!!
Now, you have a few months before you start. Don’t sit like a bump on a log for the next 2-3 months, but at the same time, take time to enjoy graduation, freedom, and summer time. Graduate school isn’t all unicorns, rainbows, and meadow frolicking. In preparation for the deluge of information that will soon ensnare your mind, consider the following Summer Reading List as you lay on a beach or veg-out on the couch. As you consider and use the list below, keep in mind to review the big areas in SLP:
- Language Development and Disorders
Free Summer Reading List
- Undergraduate Notes - The jumbled mess that is your undergraduate notes, look them over. Remember what was tough to remember. Recall the topics which you first skimmed, and look more closely this time around.
- Undergraduate Textbooks – Especially the ever-lovely Anatomy text for a review of the facial, swallowing, and laryngeal musculature necessary for speech and swallowing.
- SLP Scope of Practice - Now I’m sure at some point a professor pointed you in this documents direction, and you glanced over it with an eye of disillusionment. I said to myself, “How in the world will I ever know all of this?!” Now, break it out, look over the sections, and take note of things you don’t know or have never heard of. Google it. Research it. Don’t let your newness get the best of you.
- ASHA’s Compendium of EBP Guidelines and Systematic Reviews - Mind. Blown. I was introduced to this resource way too late in my SLP graduate school journey. Bookmark it. Tattoo it to your arm (obvious exaggeration). Look through the topics that interest you. Aphasia, dysphagia, dementia, feeding, and more. The guidelines documents are great for overview when working with the disorder – a starting place – and the evidence for the topics are equally helpful for preparing for future clients.
- ASHA’s Practice Portal – This is a new venture for ASHA, but promises to be my future go-to spot when a difficult client comes my way (still in Beta trials). Currently, there are only 4 topics available, but there is more coming in 2013…stay tuned!
- Previous years’ ASHA Convention Handouts - If you have a specific area of interest or can’t find information in a given area, search handouts and see what you can find. People work hard when presenting, so use the resource.
I am planning a Part 2 to this reading list which highlights paid options for those wanting more resources than are available online. For now, this will get you started.
Happy reading fellow SLP graduate students!!
An app for speech sound disorders to be utilized by Speech-Language pathologists. The app allows for targeting articulation or phonological processes at the word, phrase, and sentence level while collecting data. The app was recently updated to version 3.2.1 in April 2013, so there are new features to the app to check out.
Universities across the U.S. offer a set of courses which prepare students to begin a graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP). There are a few different reasons a person might choose to complete these prerequisite courses (aka post-baccalaureate courses) in SLP or Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD):
- You have your Bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field (psychology, exercise science, biology, underwater basket weaving).
- If you have a degree in a non SLP/CSD field, you were rejected from or SLP graduate schools so are deciding to take the classes while you reapply.
- You are considering making a career change and want the inside scoop before applying to SLP graduate schools.
Autism Language Learning
Series 1: Actions
Autism Language Learning (A.L. L.) includes real-life videos of children and teenagers modeling a variety of common actions (eating, drinking, throwing) with the option to record user productions for each prompt. There is an in-app purchase upgrade ($1.99) which allows users to upload their own videos.
Price: $26.99, check out the A.L.L.: Actions Lite version for $Free
The app is designed to help children learn how to create syntactically correct basic and complex sentences using color-coded visual prompts. Users engage and learn that sentences are comprised of essential word groupings which are ordered to help provide information regarding who, what, where, and how information.
Apraxia Ville is designed for use by Speech-Language Pathologists working with children diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech. The app targets consonants and vowels in isolation, at the word level (CV & CVC), and in word sets (CV + CV or CVC + CVC).
Price: $21.99 (just released March 20, 2013)
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)
ASHA’s Position on the diagnosis of Childhood Apraxia of Speech says it “exists as a distinct diagnostic type of childhood speech sound disorders that warrants research and clinical services.” Furthermore, ASHA highlights three distinctive features SLPs should look for in addition to a comprehensive speech and language evaluation: (1) inconsistent errors on consonants and vowels in repeated productions of syllables/words, (2) irregular co-articulatory transitions between productions, and (3) excess, equal, and/or reduced prosody (intonation). These three features are not always present in every case of CAS occurrence, but help distinguish CAS from other speech sound disorders. Apraxia Ville targets the three main features ASHA mentions exceptionally well. Allow me to explain…
How many times will you continue to apply to Speech-Language Pathology graduate schools before you stop and consider an alternate route or career path?
I’ve posed this question to myself since many friends and blog readers have commented and emailed me regarding grad school rejection. So when would you stop saying “I’m determined to get into SLP graduate school” and start saying “I’m desperate to get into SLP graduate school.” Where is the line between determination and desperation? After the first year of rejection letters? The second year? The third year? At some point, determination turns into desperation, and the anxiety eats away at the passion and excitement.