Category Archives: SLPeep

A poem for Clinical Fellows


Where did I leave it?

My confidence, my wit.

Confrontation seems to stifle my flame.

There’s a part of me that now feels lame.

How can I know what I know, yet need to justify my stance.

Nothing I can say will help me in this professional dance.

I’m new and I’m young, yet I have things to say.

How long is long enough to have a heyday?

Just when I gain ground,

I get stuck on the mound.

I know, ref -

I’m just a CF.

I mixed up my "ref" and "ump" - but it didn't rhyme :)

SLP_Echo now on Facebook


All right. So I added my Blog as a page on Facebook. It felt like I was selling out. I don’t know why. I’m way late to the game. I know. When I started my blog, I didn’t want anyone to know it was me writing. I was just starting SLP grad school in 2011;I was worried my professors would think I was ranting about them.

In 2014, I love that people can comment, email, tweet, and Google + me. Facebook just felt so….personal. But I’m ready to get personal. My readers are on Facebook as much as I am – so now my posts will be shared there as well. Along with other day-to-day happenings of my life and work in Alaska.

If you read my blog, like my posts, and have ever connected with me elsewhere, feel free to “Like” my page on Facebook. Here.

If it helps readers find my blog and they can find something I say helpful – success. I’m all about connecting – so – Let’s Connect!

facebook echo

“Welcome to Holland” and Parent Advocates


“Us versus them”

That’s often the mentality going into a difficult IEP meetings that involves lawyers, multiple service providers, and/or parent advocates. The other day, I caught myself thinking I would walk into a meeting, tell parents my testing results, and inform them what their child is or is not qualified for. I went to school and I’m the professional.

Please (for the few readers of mine), forgive me for my thoughtlessness. How arrogant I was becoming that day. O_0

I climbed down off my high horse and tried to put myself in the parents’ shoes. I was reminded of a short essay called “Welcome to Holland” written in 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. Read it. It’s a great metaphor-rich story from a parent perspective on having a child with disabilities. The author expresses that it’s like planning an exciting vacation to Italy, but instead you land and must stay in Holland.

“So [now] you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.”

parenting

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Where did she go?


Oh. I haven’t blogged since September 13. That’s almost 2 months. *weeps*

I have been doing things like being silly in the snow…

november

 

Watching sunsets…

 

sunset alaska

 

And watching the fog roll into the Mat-Su Valley here in Alaska.

 

fog

 

I have been slacking and I have no excuse. I mean, work is busy and time consuming. But if I am being honest, I’ve just been neglecting my blog. Like that old toy you stopped playing with because you got a new one. Well my new toy has been Alaska. It’s taken time to get over the “newness.” So here’s to hoping I get off this silly blogging hiatus and gallivant into more posts.

 

Stay tuned!!

 

alaska

Cheers!

Outcome Measures in Speech Therapy


As the year marches on, IEPs come due and quarterly reports are nearing. I started asking myself how can I better  understand the outcomes and data of the children I serve? I came across a study by Jacoby, et al. (2002) and liked how they determined outcomes using a functional communication measure.

The purpose of the  study was to investigate the number of therapy sessions needed to facilitate functional communication improvements when delivering services to children from three to six years old with identified speech and/or language disorder(s). One research question asked if the number of treatment units necessary to improve functional communication were affected by age of the child. The answer was yes. Younger children required fewer sessions to demonstrate improvement. For instance, a 3 year old child averaged 95 treatment units (15 min units) to improve 1 level, while a 6 year old required 139 units to improve 1 functional level.

national outcome measure

While the data seems a bit obvious because of how the brain changes with age, I also didn’t think to consider the number of times I get to see my kiddos. I’m realizing how often a quarter of a year can pass by and I don’t get to see the kids the allotted time laid out in their IEPs. Field trips, testing, holidays, sickness, and professional development; these factors play into how much I can change the functional communication of a child. As I prepare IEPs and quarterly report cards, I need to address or at least mention how often or not often I got to see the child. If I only saw a child 3 times instead of 6 yet they made improvement, what does that data suggest? What if I saw a child 6 times instead of 4 times in previous quarters, yet they made little to no improvement? Are the interventions working or is it the time I’ve seen them?

I love to question myself, my approaches, techniques. Data makes me problem solve, think critically about what I’m doing, and re-evaluate if it’s not working. When a report card allows for checking “making adequate progress” vs. “minimal progress”…what am I doing or not doing that I can change to make more progress next time.

This isn’t a game…it’s communication. I’m laying a foundation for a child’s future outcomes. So when I measure how well a child is doing, I want to make sure it matches up with how well they are functionally communicating. With so many variables impacting my sessions, this is just one measure to help analyze where a child is on the communication spectrum. There are so many ways to keep track, but just thought this one was an interesting perspective.

References

Jacoby, G. P., Lee, L., Kummer, A. W., Levin, L., & Creaghead, N. A. (2002). The number of individual treatment units necessary to facilitate functional communication improvements in the speech and language of young children. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 11, 370-380. [Abstract here]

Mullen, R. & Schooling, T. (2010). The national outcomes measurement system for pediatric speech-language pathology. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 41, 44-60. [Abstract here]

 

Online Degree Programs in CSD


The spring 2013 Issue of Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders contains an article discussing EBP approaches to providing online education in the area of Speech-Language Pathology. There is such limited information on online SLP programs available. ASHA’s EdFind is limited in that it takes you to universities’ websites and even then it’s like a scavenger hunt to find the details.

The article authors, Duddin & Drulia, cite The Sloan Consortium, a well-established online education leader, when discussing the foundation for programs (2013).  According to Moore (2005), there are 5 pillars to determine the quality of online education:

  1. Learning Effectiveness
  2. Cost Effectiveness
  3. Access
  4. Faculty Satisfaction
  5. Student Satisfaction

4 Virginia universities collaborated to create an online program based on evidence and collaboration; it is called The Distance Learning in Virginia Educating SLPs (DLVE-SLP). The thing I loved most about this article was the amount of time and effort the universities took in creating such a program. They considered the evidence, took a risk, and created a program in order to further the profession.

The competitiveness of SLP graduate schools has created a funnel for all those dreaming of becoming an SLP. With this need, also comes the reality that many universities are trying to “catch up” or “tread water” to meet the need. While ASHA accredited schools must meet standards, every school varies in exactly how they carry out the ASHA-rules and regulations. I am impressed with the thought behind the DLVE-SLP program discussed in the article. It made me wonder what went on behind-the-scenes of my university before it began. Did they ever imagine going digital? How many schools are in the works to create completely online programs? Once more, how many of them are using evidence based approaches to build a framework around online education?

My hope is to see more high-quality, research based online SLP/CSD graduate programs in the future. Maybe then the funnel for entering SLP graduate school will be lessened.

Until next time — Greetings from Alaska!

alaska waterfall

The Clinical Fellowship Experience


Now that I’ve been living in Alaska for a month, I’m gearing up to start work as a Clinical Fellow. I’ve got my trapper keeper, #2 pencils, and an A+ attitude. That’s all you need for a first day, right? I’m going to go with yes. This “Clinical Fellowship” used to be termed “Clinical Fellowship Year” because it would take a year, now the minimum is 36 weeks or 9 months. Basically you are pregnant with newness and experiencing anxiety, cravings for expensive pens, and wondering what to do with all this money you now make. Maybe it should be called “Clinical Fellowship Pregnancy” (sorry gentleman) or “The Fellowship of  Clinicians” (see what I did there?!) or “‘What the heck am I doing?!’ Club”. Just a suggestion, ASHA. Take note. Read the rest of this entry

Good Student or Good Therapist?


I recently tweeted about an illustrated quote  by the gentleman over at ZenPencils.com; it’s called “Erica Goldson – Graduation Speech.” Nothing, as of late, has inspired me more than reading this quote ( please check it out before you continue). My SLP graduate school graduation is this Saturday, July 27 and I won’t be attending since I moved to Alaska about 2 weeks ago. After reading this, I reflected on my own graduate school journey. One question came to mind:

Am I a good student or a good therapist? 

zen pencils - work ticket

Excerpt from the quote

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Apraxia Ville – A Review


Apraxia Ville

by Smarty Ears, LLC

Purpose:

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)

opening screen of Apraxia Ville by Smarty Ears

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…

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Sunny Articulation and PhonologyTest (SAPT) – A Review


Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test (SAPT)

By Barbara Fernandes at Smarty Ears

SAPT screen shot - iPad

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