Private Speech Therapy in Alaska


I’ve been working in a Developmental and Behavioral Clinic since August 2017 here in Wasilla. It’s been a whirlwind start full of 50 “new” things to learn. The thing about being a Speech-Language Pathologist is that you never know all you’re going to know. It’s a never ending cycle of  self-talk like this: “Oh, I didn’t know that. Now I know….but wait…how do I do this thing?…did I do that “thing” right? Probably not. Shh. Don’t tell.”

This year marks 5 years since graduating from SLP grad school and working my way into finally identifying as a ‘kind of experienced’ SLP. The CCC part of the credentials after my name really stands for “Complete Constant Chaos” or “Certified Chaos Controller” or “Chronic Clutter Creator”. Just brainstorming there, but you get my drift. I’m rarely as internally confident as I hope to appear. Given all of that, stepping out of the school district pool of SLPs was intimidating. I am a lone therapist in a small clinic full of people with more degrees than me – Pediatricians, Neuropsychologists, Counselors, Nurse Practitioners. Here it is now, 7 months later, and I have never in my career felt more confident than now, with a hint of undulating uncertainty when something new comes my way. Honestly, I hope that never changes. Because if you never feel uncertain or cautious, how the hell will you know when to grow? That feeling is what keeps me seeking out training, continuing education, and taking risks in therapy. Be cautious, but be bold as hell about it.

This new roll as a private practice SLP comes with a respect that you don’t automatically get as a school-based SLP, from both parents and professionals alike. It’s not a bad thing. I think I have some bias of my own about school nurses vs. nurses in hospitals or clinics. Why do I have that? It’s nonsense. Now being in a new roll and seeing how much parents and professionals truly value my ideas and contributions, it’s empowering. Yet I still miss being part of a school environment, greeting 500 kids, cleaning up messes from lunch, and playing on playgrounds and calling it therapy. My schedule is still busy and I’m always behind on paperwork. Changing settings didn’t really change my pro-level procrastination abilities. (ha!)

I love my new job. I love my patients. I like the daily challenges I face.

And here’s a quick peek at my weekly schedule. I get every Friday off, so yay for 3 day weekends!

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An SLP in Alaska: Making Waves & Taking Names


Since my last update, I’ve been having fun exploring new SLP assignments for work within the Mat-Su Borough School District.

My week often looks like this:

  • Mondays, Tuesday, Fridays: Providing speech therapy services for homeschool students enrolled in our school district. Families bring their kids in to work with me for 30 minutes to an hour. It’s always a fun adventure navigating schedules, parents, and materials.
  • Wednesday & Thursdays: I travel to student’s homes and provide speech therapy services to medically fragile students who cannot attend a brick-and-mortar school.

This has been a huge change from my first 2 years as an SLP where I worked full-time in 1 school (K-2)…And I ABSOLUTELY love it. It’s dynamic and I get to see a variety of ages, diagnoses, and locations in the beautiful Mat-Su Valley.

Since starting to work with the population with multiple disabilities, I’ve had to step up my parent communication, collaboration, and technology skills.

My plan is to post a few reads about how I’m learning on-the-fly and taking basic skills to the next level as I continue to grow and develop as a Speech-Language Pathologist. I’ll start my 4th year with Mat-Su in the fall – we shall see what’s in store! Stay tuned!

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Cautionary Optimism for SLP2B


Are you jaded yet upon applying to SLP graduate school? 

I’ve been an SLP now for 3 years following 6 straight years of school. I’m not one that can complain about being rejected from every program, but on behalf of those who are, AHHHH!!!

There’s a system at work that not many are aware of until you’re so far committed to the profession that now you’re jaded. The SLP undergraduate programs out there roll out the welcome mat for all who hold the flame for SLP. Those who know this is what they want to do; those who have gone to great lengths to show they care; those who are so excited about the prospect of joining the profession they don’t dwell on the possibility of not being accepted to a grad program.

And these ladies and few gentleman happily and with great zest enroll in CSD courses, putting forth all their effort to obtain those coveted A’s.

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Unfortunately, the welcome mat is rolled up and thrown out back after you get your undergraduate degree in CSD. Now, it gets competitive and frustrating. It’s a waiting game; a game that graduate programs aren’t concerned about losing. They have all the chips, you’re in their line so just accept it.

It’s fall and most of you have started a program if you’ve been accepted. For others, its a season of “What Now?”. I’ve thrown out the advice of SLPA positions – but I’m not that green. Those jobs are more elusive than graduate school admissions. What else can you do? I’m here to admit the options are limited. Many of you have found other avenues through local school systems as substitutes or special education support staff. Others have been able to connect with local clinics to work in some fashion. But mostly, people are in a cycle of waiting.

If you’re pursuing a career as a Speech-Language Pathogist, it can be a bumpy road. Full of disappointment and anxiety. Or…for the rarer few, like me, it can fall into place. Be realistic. Be optimistic but with a certain caution in your steps.

Carry on.

Representing #slp2b at #ASHA14


I’ll be at the 2014 ASHA Convention in Orlando, Florida next week. Will you be there?

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If you’ll be there, tweet me @SLP_Echo or on WhatsApp as ‘SLP Echo’ while at convention. I’d love to meet some of my lovely readers! Here’s a few of the places, events, and giveaways I’ll be participating in:  Continue reading “Representing #slp2b at #ASHA14”

Suggestions for Writing a Letter of Intent


Historically, I’ve written several posts on writing a letter of intent and responding to essay prompts when applying to Speech-Language Pathology graduate school. But I have more to share. I have opinions and ideas based on my reading of 45 letters in the past 3 weeks. Ladies and you few gentlemen, read on to hear my opinionated ideas on how to construct an epic essay.

SLP graduate school letter of intent - info

 Tuck It In

Stop using 10 words when 5 will do. The first thing I do is read through a paragraph and ask myself, “Was that easy to read?” or “Did I use too many words?”. This is the first impression of your writing skills; don’t show off with fancy fluffy words —- Keep it tucked it! AKA, don’t go on and on about one experience. Use one or two sentences to elaborate, and move on to something else. This is your resume in paragraph form. Woo them with your wordsmithing.

Vary Your Topics

To further expand on the above, don’t over-elaborate on your reason for entering the field, experiences, and interests. Make sure to cover them all, but don’t be like that one family member who can’t stop talking about that one experience in 1970 that changed their life. People care, really they do, but they don’t need every detail. Show your passion for as many topics as you can; our profession is broad so show your breadth of knowledge.

Explain Your Experience, But Don’t Brag

The line between explaining your experience and bragging on yourself lies somewhere between humble confidence and overt suck-up type statements. For example, if you have been working as an SLP assistant for 2 years, a quality sentence of explanation might be, “The direct client intervention techniques I learned during my word as an SLP assistant give me real-word experience in preparation for graduate school.” For those who take it a bit too far, it might sound something like this, “Working under Mrs. Fancypants SLP at the Esteemed school district prepared me for the XYZ graduate program as she previously ran the program. Her recommendation and feedback has solidified my determination.” Name dropping is good if you do it correctly. Be careful, but be your biggest fan. Make it obvious you know what you know and you’re ready to learn more from their program.

Avoid Certain Verb Tenses

I had been reading essays from quality students, but if I had been reading less quirky verb tenses, I might would have perhaps been less confused. — Ok…that was blatantly confusing. But seriously, avoid past perfect progressive and present perfect progressive tenses. It makes sentences wordy, and it just muddles up a quality essay and response. This is obviously just my personal opinion, but it’s my blog, so there it is 🙂

Be Personal

I don’t want to know your deepest darkest secret, but if you mention you have an interest in bilingual language development or pediatric dysphagia, don’t create a cliff hanger. For example, instead of just saying you worked at XYZ foundation and finally realized your love of the profession, elaborate some: “My work with XYZ foundation furthered my interest for working with individuals from multicultural backgrounds. I met determined children who were mislabeled and misunderstood, and I felt impassioned to reach them on a much deeper level.” Short, sweet, and you can sense the impact.

Let Me Read It

Ok, it doesn’t have to be me exactly, but let someone read it. Someone who has some experience with professional essays and honest critiques. I’ve never met you and have no fear of offending or critiquing your work. Better me than a review board. Be open to feedback about your writing. It’s so competitive to get admitted, and if your writing isn’t spot on, you’re one step closer to the rejection pile. Write a stand-out essay or response and put one more thing in your favor.  Contact me on my About Me page and ask if I’ll review. I’m always happy to.

Happy Writing!

ASHA Fitness 8 in 5


Over the past year, several SLPs and AUDs have come together to create a support system for getting healthy and staying active through various editions of what we’ve called #ASHAFit challenges. The challenges have ranged in lengths and participant number, but all have looked at who can loose the highest body fat percentage in a given time. This time around, we are doing something a little differently for #ASHAFit85. Check it out…

The challenge:

Lose 8% of your body fat in 5 months

Start Date: Saturday, September 20, 2014

End Date: Saturday, February 21, 2015

Join the event on Facebook for more updates as the challenge continues! Click here

Continue reading “ASHA Fitness 8 in 5”