Category Archives: #slp2b

Just Open More SLP Programs, OK?


Bellow is a guest post by Brian Goldstein, Ph.D., CCC-SLP (Dean & Professor, La Salle University). His words echo my own thoughts on the issue I frequently discuss on my blog – admittance into SLP graduate programs. He has much to say, and we should all be willing to listen, digest, and act. Read on my dear followers…

mountain_echo

The Discussion

In my almost 10 years as a University administrator, I have had occasion to talk to members of the Board of Trustees at two different Universities. You might expect that main topics of conversation with Board members might have been graduation rates, faculty hiring, new programs, or budgets. You’d be wrong on all counts. The most common topic of discussion with Board members has involved admission into the master’s program in speech-language pathology. As the current Provost of La Salle University says, “it’s easier to get into some Ivy League schools than it is to get into the master’s program in speech-language pathology.” For the Fall 2014 class at La Salle, we had over 400 applications for 18 spots. In 2011-2012, there were 52,339 applications to the 224 ASHA-accredited programs that completed the survey, http://bit.ly/1vY9ril. I’m sure I don’t have to do that math for you. I would suggest you read this report for this and other sobering statics such as average GPA and average GRE score.

 

We are all aware of the fact that the number of applications to SLP programs far exceeds the number of available spots. The questions are why the situation exists and what might we do to obviate it. I, along with many others, am deeply concerned that if we do not start working to fix this issue, then well-qualified students will choose not to go into SLP because they believe they will never get into a master’s program. The time to address this issue is now and there is no time to waste.

The limited number of spots in master’s SLP programs has engendered numerous blog posts (e.g., here, here and here) and Twitter discussions—the latter being the impetus for this blog post. In my experience as Program Director, Department Chair, Associate Dean, and Dean, I thought I would try and bring my perspective to this discussion. Here, I want to focus on 2 main reasons for this bottleneck: (1) faculty and (2) clinical placements.

Faculty

One solution to opening up more spots in graduate programs is to increase the size of the faculty in existing programs and/or hire faculty to open new programs. There’s a problem though. There are not enough faculty. Period. OK, so it’s more complicated than that but let’s start here. In 2011-2012, ASHA (2011, http://bit.ly/1vY9ril) reports that there were openings for 135 full-time faculty, with a projected total of 272 openings through 2017. Approximately, 28% of the openings went unfilled.

What do these data tell us? There are openings for faculty but not enough faculty to fill the available positions. If there are not enough faculty to fill open positions for the programs that exist now, how would it be possible to open any new programs? On a side note, it is expensive to run graduate speech-language pathology programs—from faculty to staff to labs to equipment, etc. The expenses are significant and growing. Back to the faculty issue. Is it possible to educate and hire faculty who do not have a research doctorate? Yes, no, maybe. Take a step back and think about how and where current faculty are educated. They are largely educated in research Universities whose mentors were educated in research Universities and so on. The expectation is that after graduation these individuals will be researchers who teach and not necessarily teachers who do research. Yes, I am generalizing. However, the mode educational paradigm is research faculty educating and mentoring doctoral students in research institutions who will become faculty members at research institutions and perpetuate the line. I freely admit, by the way, that I was of that mindset as well. My sojourn about 5 miles up Broad Street in Philadelphia from Temple University to La Salle University has changed my perspective. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way…

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Soundable: A Review


If you’re currently in an SLP undergraduate or graduate program, Soundable is your new  “Rosetta Stone®” for learning phonetics. I distinctly remember meeting in empty rooms with my undergrad friends taking turns yelling out words, then seeing who could phonetically spell it out the quickest. If only we had this app back then. Sure, you could practice workbooks or beg a friend to study for hours in the library – BORING! Read the rest of this review, download the app, go about your business, and let’s battle to the death playing Soundable!!! (or till we run out of tiles, details…details).

Soundable
Cost: Free
– there is an in-app purchase option to remove ads if you get tired of them. This app is only available on iTunes at the moment.

What is Soundable?

The best description of the game comes straight from the website, “It’s like Scrabble® for friends who can’t spell!”I’ve always been a terrible speller, which is why the normal Scrabble game makes me turn up my nose. Soundable takes away the spelling component and brings back those early phonics skills they’ve become automatic with reading. Since the developers are Tactus Therapy and LessonPix, the quality is excellent and you can tell they put forth great effort into making this game streamlined and easy to play.

How do you play? (video tutorial here)

You start by selecting an opponent by looking up their username. Mine is “slp_echo” so you have someone to play when you get started.

  1. Pick an opponent
  2. Pick a game type
  3. Use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) or Phonics
  4. Spell words using sounds
  5. Battle your opponent until you’re an IPA and/or phonics master! #Soundable

Game Types: You can play a “Quick” or “Full Game” in Soundable. Meaning, you can play your opponent until the last tiles have been laid – OR – you can see who makes it to 200 first. Both have their challenges. In a quick game, you need to focus on getting the most points as quick as you can. In the “Full Game”, by the end, you might only have 1 consonant and like 6 vowels. Yikes! Either way, get ready for a challenge!SoundableScreenshot_FB

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Deciding to blog about SLP


I love to type my thoughts out. I started blogging in 2011 and it wasn’t about who would read it. It was that I had these opinions and ideas that no one else was saying or sharing. Nobody wanted to address the lack of real information in the SLP  graduate school world. It was all coming from one place – ASHA. While they certainly have their place and roll, that is by no means enough. Myself, Hanna B. SLP, and OliviaSLP were the only SLP students blogging.

People are searching, grasping for lines of truth from others who experience the same exasperation. I was fed up with not finding, and decided to share my own opinions. Who knew, 3 years later I’d have near 200,000 views and daily emails full of people wanting answers. I gladly answer each and every email, which lately, I’ve been receiving at least one every day.

I just read this question/screen shot from one of the blogs I read, and someone posed this question and then the response:

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A resource for those starting SLP Graduate School


Just a few years ago, I was sitting in my un-classy apartment in West Georgia impatiently waiting to start SLP grad school. It’s been almost 3 years and I’ve learned one or 2 things. Last year, I wrote “Summer Reading List for New SLP Grad Students” . But, allow me to share something I wish someone had shared with me long ago…

SpeechPathology.com - ever heard of it? Maybe you have. I see their ads in my Facebook feed. Or in emails I didn’t realize I signed up for at an ASHA convention. But this one…this one is worth clicking on.

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“Less Competitive” SLP Graduate Schools discussion


I’ve recently become fascinated by the SLP sub category on Reddit.com. It’s an open forum for questions, links, and information; in this sub-Reddit (as they say), there has been quite the discussion on “less competitive” SLP graduate schools.  When I was applying, I didn’t think any grad school was less competitive than another. I thought they all had equally competitive application processes. And to be honest, I associate “less competitive” with “easy” “accepts lower GPA/GRE” or “less applicants”. And in some ways, I guess that’s true.

There are two threads of discussion on this topic that I’ve focused on.

  1. Reddit: On 4/9/2014, the question “What are some “less competitive” SLP grad programs” was posed to the group. Currently at 18 comments at the time of this post, it’s a great discussion.
  2. TheGradCafe.com: On 1/23/2014 a user started the “Fall 2014 “Less Competitive” Grad Programs Applicants Thread!”. Currently at 250 replies, it’s an amazing read if you want to scour the pages.

I think what interests me the most is the sheer number of people searching this type of information. I get lots of hits on my blog with similar search terms. People want to get into this profession, yet are blocked at the door. I’m scared for my readers and happy for the ones that make it. But there are so many applicants that are worthy and passionate. I just wish there was more room for everyone.

Give these threads a read if you are interested. My thoughts on “less competitive” grad schools is that truly, there aren’t any. Searchers looking for an answer, there are suggestions in these posts that “safety” school exist. I just don’t know if that’s solid advice. Maybe I’m just uninformed or cynical in the matter. But nothing short of hard work, experience, and determination will get you into grad school. And even that isn’t always rewarded with a ticket.

Keep at it readers. Keep asking and keep discussing. If others have success, learn from it and use it as fuel for your own fire.

 

Effective Intervention for Expressive Grammar


It’s Research Tuesday! This week is all about grammar. I am up to my knees in grammar goals. Pluralization. Past tense. Present progressive. Pronouns. Possessives. It’s raining grammar in Alaska, folks…and I needed some guidance. Where better to get guidance than research. I didn’t get all that schoolin’ for nothin’ (excuse my grammar, ha!)

Article: Smith-Lock, K.M., Leitao, S., Lambert, L., & NIckels, L. (2013) Effective intervention for expressive grammar in children with specific language impairment. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 48(3), 265-282. [Open Access|

grammar treatment

Useful content and strategies I can apply tomorrow:

  • Narratives without appropriate grammar decrease timing and reference points to link characters to the story line. (I can use this statement in explanation of IEP present levels/evaluation write-ups)
  • Utilize a specific grammar screener to determine potential treatment targets such as possessive “s”, past tense, present tense, and pronouns. Within the article, they pilot tested the screener on a group of typically developing same-age children for comparison.
  • Focused stimulation, recasting, and imitation are all efficacious treatment techniques for grammar interventions

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Acceptance and Rejection


Were you accepted to an SLP graduate school? Or Did you receive one of those disheartening rejection letters?

Acceptance letters. I remember opening the email that held the golden ticket. I jumped up, screamed, and danced around my apartment. I tried calling my parents…no answer. I just sat there and cried. I had already been rejected from 3 other schools. I was feeling as if my life choice was the wrong one. And then I read that letter. The letter of acceptance. The joy and emotions cannot be expressed. I hope some of you…my lovely readers…have felt this same sensation as of late.

acceptance

Rejection letters. If you applied to multiple schools and have already received rejection letters, I wish I could hug you. Just thinking about that letter of rejection just makes me relive those moments of sadness, overwhelming helplessness, and feelings of inadequacy. All the hard work, accolades, and confidence just melt away in an instant.

Whether you are dancing for joy or reading this amid tears of rejection, remember those letters are just the beginning. The beginning of a 2 year graduate school journey. Or the beginning of waiting another year or shifting your goals. I don’t want to get cliché  here, rambling on about opening windows or when a door closes another opens. Blah blah…rejection letters just make you want to slam every door and break a window. But really, these letters don’t define your worth. You are worthy of your aspirations in this field.

Press on or move on – it’s up to you. But don’t let an acceptance letter boost your ego too much, and don’t let a rejection letter deflate all your dreams.

If you are waiting to hear back from various SLP graduate schools, then my thoughts are with you. Keep me posted and keep your spirits high!

What are my chances of getting into SLP grad school? Part 2


In 2012, I wrote “What are my chances of getting into grad school for SLP?”. It’s my most read post I’ve ever published. I know exactly why, too. People want to know if investing in a career as a Speech-Language Pathologist is easy or difficult and worth the investment.

In 2013, a joint publication by the Council of Academic Programs in Communications Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) published survey data based on information provided by nation-wide SLP graduate programs. It’s the same survey I used to find the data in my first post. In this post, I wanted to compare the 2 documents and see what’s changed over the past few years. One thing to keep in mind as you read through these, many individuals apply to more than one university – the large number of applications does not reflect the actual number of people who applied, just the number of applications. Check out the resource and info below for yourself…

Table 1 shows GRE scores that haven’t been converted to reflect the new score reporting using the ETS Concordance Table. No data was available from the 2011-2012 report.

average verbal - quantitative scores for SLP grad school

Table 1

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A Must-Buy book for New SLPs


There hasn’t been a week during this first year as an SLP that I haven’t turned to pages in this book with an unmistakable urge to hunt down the authors and hug them forever.

Secord, W. A., Boyce, S. E., Donahue, J. S., Fox, R. A., & Shine, R. E. (2007). Eliciting sounds: Techniques and strategies for clinicians [spiral bound]. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning. 

It runs about $50-$70. When I first bought this book, it didn’t feel important. It was almost like a leaflet you might pick up at a doctor’s office. Like an adult “Highlights Magazine”, except more expensive. Now days, it holds an esteemed place of honor in my top right hand drawer. Easily accessible. Always nearby. I would pay $100 for this gem.

I’m hoping this book is a standard required reading source in SLP grad school. If not, then buy it. You won’t regret it.

That is all for now. I’m cold…in Alaska…breaking news, huh? :)

In related news:

Interview with Wayne Secord on his book

Wayne Secord presentation on elicitation techniques

Eliciting /k/ and /g/ with help from Secord’s book

SLP Clinical Fellowship – Honestly


4 years of an undergraduate degree followed by 2 years getting a Master’s degree, all you really think about is that first payday when you start your Clinical Fellowship. Something about being paid for the work you are doing – it rights the soul. All those sleepless nights studying, worrying, writing, reading – ugh! If I had been paid for the work I invested in my education, let’s just say you could all come stay with me on my own Alaskan homestead.

Now, some honesty…

knight echo

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