What’s most surprising about this first year as an SLP is how quickly I found my weaknesses.
In SLP graduate school, the support is there. Ever-present even in the smallest of ways. Someone to answer a question, pick up your slack, support you, and even take over if necessary. There was always back-up. But all I can remember is feeling like a slick professional, ready to shake the chains of graduate school for a paid position doing what I love. I knew I didn’t know it all, but I figured I could figure it out.
True. I can figure it out. But when a kid is sitting in front of you and you can’t think of where you put your tongue depressors or how to interact with a non-verbal kiddo, “figuring it out” doesn’t always cut it. I am doing my best to prep for my days by problem solving my weaknesses. Here is a quick list of my weaknesses:
- I need more tricks for teaching the /r/ sound.
- Being more systematic. My ADD rubs off in therapy…need to tuck that in and straighten out, Katie.
- Modeling social behavior before I expect it. It’s so easy to just grab a kid from a room, head my office and start. Take a moment for greetings and farewells.
I’m sure this list will change, grow, and become more complex as the year goes on. But to recognize where I have the potential to be overwhelmed makes me feel less overwhelmed. I haven’t had a day where I went home and felt overwhelmed with what tomorrow brings. I brainstormed some ideas on why I think that is. While this applies to my Clinical Fellowship, I think many can apply to starting SLP graduate school or any new position.
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.
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!!
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.
“A word-finding app to help people with aphasia and children with special needs practice important naming and description skills.” I also find it useful for working with children and adults on expressive and receptive vocabulary, describing words, categorization, and other goals.
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
At the 2012 ASHA Convention in Atlanta I wondered at the unique set of peoples I encountered. Everyone was eager to join sessions, share ideas, and offer words of encouragement to the newbies like me. There wasn’t a hint of selfishness of information; what helps one professional has the possibility to help thousands more when shared. The amount of evidence displayed and excellence of clinical translation encouraged everyone who attended. Since this was my first convention, I was astounded at the amount of work others from around the country are doing to advance the science and techniques of the profession…and I thought I was busy?!
In Dr. Maya Angelou’s key note address, she said “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” We all have a song to sing in the form of our profession. We perform our job based on evidence and training; yet it is more than that. There is a calling to help each patient, caregiver, and family, not out of a sense of duty; rather, from a sense of purpose and resolve to impact and further another person’s recovery and development.
I recently wrote a paper for my Summer SLP Graduate course about Stuttering theories and treatments. My paper was entitled “The Impact of Developmental, Environmental, and Learning Factors on Stuttering” based on a Chapter in Barry Guitar’s textbook (sounds thrilling, I know). While I was not entirely excited about topic, it turned out to be more helpful than my doubtful #slp2b brain wanted to admit.
There is no one theory about the cause of stuttering. Some refer to genetics for their cause – “My dad and grandpa stuttered, so that’s why I do” – while others say it was the environment – “My mom punished me if I ever stuttered, but I ended up stuttering more”. Guitar’s (2006) textbook (Chapter 3) gives great insight into the generally accepted theories for causes of stuttering – I highly recommend his (expensive) textbook…
Every semester we are assigned clients in the on-campus Speech and Hearing Clinic . *nerves* The frightening sensation that someone is paying to have me work with their child, teen, or with them as an adult is surreal. Just a year ago I was sitting in class thinking about what I was going to do for Spring Break or over Summer vacation. Now, my thoughts are about the types of therapy techniques for clients with Dysphagia or if I know what to do for a child with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)….For the record, I do know these things
Anywho… Evidence Based Practice: What drives Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Our Supervisors give us the task to find 3 articles to support the type of therapy intervention we choose for our clients.
Here is a general profile of what I used in serach of Evidence to base my Practice on:
I decided to use a Play-based therapy approach termed Milieu, where the child directs therapy, given a set of activities I pre-determine.
I found the following 3 articles to support using a Mileu Therapy. They are followed by my accompanying reviews: