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!!
Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test (SAPT)
By Barbara Fernandes at Smarty Ears
by Shimon Young
“My PlayHome is a doll house for the iGeneration…where your child can use everything, even the closets, TV and shower…fry an egg and feed the family pizza. Where you can pour drinks, blow bubbles and turn out the lights.” (via the iTunes description).
by Smarty Ears
An app designed by SLPs to improve language comprehension for all age groups. More specifically, it was developed to target categorization skills to improve word finding, memory, and reading comprehension difficulties.
Price = $9.99
There’s a naiveté about being a new clinician. Stumbling through therapy sessions, wondering if you are talking too much, giving the right prompts, or using the right technique. As a supervisor sits, watching, I wonder “What does she really think about my skills?” Sweaty hands.
Everyone has been through the process. Courses. Syllabi. Ethics. Evidence. Rationale. Professionalism. A constant flood of lists, charts, and data. Why does it seem that I should be at a higher level than the one I am now? Why must I still ask why?
I’m still new at this. Designing therapy like a pathologist’s pauper, hoping if I do it his or her way, perhaps I will find my own. Asking what seems like an obvious question, followed by a much more obvious answer. Hand to face. Why didn’t I think of that?
A child talks out of turn. I must look incompetent. This one picks his nose and touches my iPad. I need a hand wipe, but don’t want to seem overly clean. Why can’t kids just leave their nose alone?
So. Many. Goals. I started with one client, now I have forty times that. Constantly thinking what’s next. Tally marks. Was that right? Wait, did they say “cab” or “cap”? Crap. Did that one just say shit?
Lunch seems like a break from my thoughts. Email. Twitter. Take a picture. Enjoy this moment because soon I will be eating alone, instead of taking time to chat. Conversation turns to the how. The why. Why Alaska? Why not.
Halls filled with faces, unknown. That child is confused, should I step in? I’m new. Wearing a visitor’s badge. I already look creepy, just leave him be. Gather the kiddos. Make sure I don’t lose them on the way back to speech. Now, which one is which? Are you this one or that one?
End of the day. Let’s hear it. How did I do? Oh. I forgot to do that. Wait, you think I did well?
Driving home. Wondering if this illusion wears off. I’m having fun, not working all day. How can a job be more than a passion? How can a degree be more than 9 to 5? With all the newness of being a grad, I’m just so humbled by all the support. If there is no limit, why wait to find more?
There was a moment Monday, before I started my first day of my full-time school internship, where I panicked. Heart fluttering, mind-numbing, terrifying panic. I couldn’t verbalize how to teach the “SH” sound. I couldn’t think of its place or manner of articulation. It was like the knowledge was lost in an ambiguous depth of space and time. *POOF* 4 years of undergrad and a 1.5 years of a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology, gone. Just. Like. That.
Now that my melodrama is over, it was truly only a momentary freak-out. Followed by a frenzy of technology, clicking, typing, and a slight hand-cramp from the manic episode. It happens to the best of us (that’s what I’m telling myself). So, what did I find you might ask? Allow me to share:
For those SLPs who have been in the field a little longer than I (which is technically no time at all), when you applied for a Clinical Fellowship (CF) were you afraid to be stuck in one setting for your entire career?
I have been getting some serious negative feedback for possibly starting my SLP journey in a school system. Not in the sense that schools are a bad place to work; not at all! Rather, schools are an entirely different beast to tackle: IEPs, scheduling, groups of kids working on 5 different goals, billing, planning, field trips, snow days, teachers’ schedules… Then there are the medical settings: Constant swallowing evaluations, patients being discharged just as you get started, patients can be fine one day and pass away the next, uncooperative, non-compliant with diet consistencies. The lists for both go on-and-on.
The most common feedback is that if I complete my Clinical Fellowship in a school system, I won’t be able to transition to a medical setting as easily once I am finished.
Maybe this is just my own fear or my own insecurity combined with feedback, but I still have this pit of anxiety in my poor #slp2b soul. I convince myself that no matter where I start, I have the next 30+ years to get over it and transition to wherever I want, or that I can take continuing education to brush up on skills no matter where I start out. Blah…blah…blah. I am still anxious. Please excuse my anxiety this one time.
There are a million things about the Speech-Language Pathology profession that I love, yet there remains this small inkling of disappointment when it comes to SLP graduate schools. There just are not enough schools with too few spots for some amazing would-be-SLPs out there (I know they are out there). I won’t delve into the reasons for shortages in this post, but one of the ways Universities have started to expand their reach is by offering completely online Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Programs.
For more information about these programs, Christie over at “38 Things…An SLP Graduate Student’s Ramblings” has written a very helpful post on searching for accredited universities, including a comprehensive list of current SLP online programs, so check it out and head on back for more!
I wanted to gain a first-hand experience with these programs since they have become increasingly popular among other SLP2B students. To do this, I have enlisted the help of current graduate students or recent graduates to answer some common questions regarding online SLP Graduate Students. My first interview is with Heather from Indiana; this is Part 1 in a multi-part series over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
She is 37 years old and SLP is her first career. She completed her undergrad in SLP in 1997, and worked as an assistant for 4 years before taking an 8-½ year “maternity leave” to be home with her kids. She has 3 wonderful kids—now 11, 8 ½, and 5. She is a recent graduate from Western Kentucky University with her Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology.
When things start piling up, you turn to the people you trust and can rely on; one such person in my life and in my SLP graduate program is Tanya Sykes-Clark. She is a first year non-traditional SLP Grad Student here at the University of West Georgia with me. She is also a wife and mother to four children who range in age from 9 to 19. When it comes to amazing, I defer to her. I asked for her story and perspective since there are many non-traditional students considering changing careers to Speech-Language Pathology. Allow her to explain…
Non-Traditional Student and the Decision Making Process:
In 1997 I moved to Georgia and decided to forgo my attempts to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing. I chose to be a stay at home mom with two children at the time. My husband was all for it, so I began my journey from stay at home mom to SLP student. In 1999 I enrolled in a technical school to get my certification as a Medical Assistant. That was an epic fail when I realized the sight of blood made me sick. In 2005, I elected to get my certification as a real estate agent and was very successful until the 2008 real estate bubble took place. Once again was thrust into considering a career change. The real estate market not only took a dive, but destroyed any financial security I had. Back at home again, but this time I was charged with caring for four children.