Blog Archives

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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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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Reading Comprehension Research


As a new SLP in the schools, one thing I feel inadequately prepared for is the reading comprehension difficulties I see in children with language disorders, as well as Autism spectrum disorders (ASD). I found this article which looked at 3 case studies for children with ASD.  The study discussed the application of reading comprehension techniques.

I love research, even (especially) case-studies, that gives clinical methods I can turn around and use tomorrow. This is that kind of article that makes me happy. The author brings up excellent strategies that could be further investigated with my own clients. She chose the strategies based off other studies done in the past that show deficits in children with ASD then suggest one or two strategies. She has combined the research for literacy strategies and offers explanations on how to implement using the anonymous case-study individuals.

research tuesday

The strategies for increasing reading comprehension and higher order thinking skills were priming background knowledge, picture walks, visual maps, think-alouds and reciprocal thinking, understanding narrative text structure, goal structure mapping, emotional thermometers, and social stories. Read the rest of this entry

How I’m Avoiding being an Overwhelmed SLP-CF


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.

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Blogging About Research – Phonemic Awareness in SLP Graduate Students


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.

A Summary

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.

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Summer Reading List for New SLP Grad Students


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:

  • Articulation
  • Phonology
  • Dysphagia
  • Voice
  • Fluency
  • Language Development and Disorders
  • AAC

Free Summer Reading List

  1. 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.
  2. Undergraduate Textbooks – Especially the ever-lovely Anatomy text for a review of the facial, swallowing, and laryngeal musculature necessary for speech and swallowing.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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!!

SLP Grad school = Rainbows and stuff

Rainbow Sentences – A Review


Rainbow Sentences

By The Mobile Education Store

Purpose:

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.

Price: $7.99

rainbow sentences starter

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Naming TherAppy – A Review


Naming TherAppy

by Tactus Therapy

Purpose: 

“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.

Price: $24.99, or try the Free, lite version of Language TherAppy which contains Naming TherAppy

Naming Therappy home page

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Categories Learning Center: A Review



Categories Learning Center

by Smarty Ears

Purpose:

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

categories learning center start up page

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A New Song


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.

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