I moved to Alaska on July 7, 2013. I’ve been here almost a year. I haven’t spoke of it much on my blog, mostly because I didn’t think people would care. But its become such a huge piece of why I love being an SLP and why I don’t want to leave, that I need to share – I need to you all to hear what is happening in Alaska….allow me to share with you, my readers, a piece of me. A piece of self that I found here.
One thing about entering and graduating from a Master’s program at a relatively young age means that in a room full of experts, I tend to be the youngest one. It’s not a bad thing most of the time, and I’m probably the only one who quickly sizes up and estimates colleagues and parents’ age. Sometimes, when I’m about to share my evaluation report or discuss a recent diagnosis, I get nervous. And I start running down my list of personally-perceived short comings; my gut reaction is to think of my age.
I’m 25 and in a position that allows me the responsibility to diagnose and plan courses of treatment for individuals who have difficulties with communication. 5 years ago my biggest responsibility was waking up in time for my dreaded 8:00 AM Philosophy class. This CF year has been a huge transition in my life, both professionally and personally. I needed to mentally catch up with my new degree, new responsibilities, and new career. I’m still working on it…obviously.
Walking into a meeting where I am the expert on the child, the expert on his or her language, I am supposed to gauge how the next year will look on our plan of action. I need to remember my skills and my strengths when those moments arise and I think my age makes me appear weak or uninformed. I’m young, but I have education and research on my side. The experience will come in due time.
Until then, I am thankful for colleagues who share kind words about how well I do in meetings or how organized and on-top of things I seem. Only myself and you, my readers know the quiet inadequacies I need to overcome. Carry on.
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.
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
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!!
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.
I am at a crossroads.
In May 2012, I traveled 5,000 + miles from Atlanta, Georgia to Kenai, Alaska (details in a previous post).During my 12 day stay, I observed 3 different SLPs – 2 in schools and 1 in private practice. After this visit, I was hooked. Now I want to live and work in Alaska as an SLP. Here we go.
Since then, I’ve flipped-flopped between waiting to work in Alaska until I finish my CF or actually doing my CF in Alaska. At the moment, I want to complete my CF in Alaska; so I’ve been looking into positions and exploring my options as both a direct hire or via staffing companies. Below is my experience with both school districts and staffing companies so far.
In 2010, Lemke and Dublinske published “Designing ASHA’s future: Trends for the association and the professions“. One of the 19 trends that stood out was the projected Generational Trend; specifically, how Generation Y (aka Millennials, born after 1982) are characterized as digital, “civic,” and connected. So they suggested professionals and ASHA should “relate to Millennials, who are expected to be a major force for social change as they enter their young adult, professional, and family stages of life development.” Talk about pressure on my (Millennial) generation.
I fit right into many of the stereotypes of the Millenial generation – clinging to technology and huddling to stay connected. As I read the article and proceeded to write my topic paper, my mind kept going back to EasySpeak Magazine.
When you decide to pursue an undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) or Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD), you must consider that you cannot work independently with just a Bachelor’s. You must pursue a masters or doctorate in order to be considered a fully independent Speech-Language Pathologist (CCC-SLP).
So, what are the chances you will get into a graduate school for speech-language pathology? Here are some statistics: