Category Archives: SLPeep

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

Read the rest of this entry



Ladies and Gentleman, I have my Certificate of Clinical Competency! Just call me M.Ed., CCC-SLP

Only those of us who have been through the process can appreciate what those letters mean. If you’re still waiting or if you’re celebrating, I hope you celebrate in style. Me…how did I celebrate? I took a bunch of pics of myself, those beautiful letters, and the epic scenery Alaska has to enjoy. So here it goes, I’m sharing with you all.  Is anyone else waiting or finally getting your CCCs? Are you as excited as I am?

Waiting on those CCCs

I mailed off my ASHA CCC-SLP application at the end of May 2014. It’s now mid-July.

ASHA has a good excuse though. The new 2015 standards start this Fall and all ‘old standard’ applications must be in before September (I think, some actual date that I’m too lazy to look up). I get it, ASHA. I do. But these feelings of anxiety bring me back to 2011 when I applied for grad school and spent every day checking my inbox, mailbox, and any box that came near me.

It’s not hampered my summer vacation by any means. Oh no. Nothing can take the Alaska bliss away from me. My distinct blog post absence has to be a sign to you, oh wonderful readers, that I’m enjoying every minute of these 18+ hour days.

But I’m still checking my bank account for the day ASHA cashes that $280 check they are keeping hostage. I’ll call in a negotiator if need be. I’ll let you guys know how the situation plays out. Until then, enjoy these Alaska summer time pics. #stillwaiting






A poem for Clinical Fellows

Where did I leave it?

My confidence, my wit.

Confrontation seems to stifle my flame.

There’s a part of me that now feels lame.

How can I know what I know, yet need to justify my stance.

Nothing I can say will help me in this professional dance.

I’m new and I’m young, yet I have things to say.

How long is long enough to have a heyday?

Just when I gain ground,

I get stuck on the mound.

I know, ref –

I’m just a CF.

I mixed up my "ref" and "ump" - but it didn't rhyme :)

SLP_Echo now on Facebook

All right. So I added my Blog as a page on Facebook. It felt like I was selling out. I don’t know why. I’m way late to the game. I know. When I started my blog, I didn’t want anyone to know it was me writing. I was just starting SLP grad school in 2011;I was worried my professors would think I was ranting about them.

In 2014, I love that people can comment, email, tweet, and Google + me. Facebook just felt so….personal. But I’m ready to get personal. My readers are on Facebook as much as I am – so now my posts will be shared there as well. Along with other day-to-day happenings of my life and work in Alaska.

If you read my blog, like my posts, and have ever connected with me elsewhere, feel free to “Like” my page on Facebook. Here.

If it helps readers find my blog and they can find something I say helpful – success. I’m all about connecting – so – Let’s Connect!

facebook echo

“Welcome to Holland” and Parent Advocates

“Us versus them”

That’s often the mentality going into a difficult IEP meetings that involves lawyers, multiple service providers, and/or parent advocates. The other day, I caught myself thinking I would walk into a meeting, tell parents my testing results, and inform them what their child is or is not qualified for. I went to school and I’m the professional.

Please (for the few readers of mine), forgive me for my thoughtlessness. How arrogant I was becoming that day. O_0

I climbed down off my high horse and tried to put myself in the parents’ shoes. I was reminded of a short essay called “Welcome to Holland” written in 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. Read it. It’s a great metaphor-rich story from a parent perspective on having a child with disabilities. The author expresses that it’s like planning an exciting vacation to Italy, but instead you land and must stay in Holland.

“So [now] you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.”


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Where did she go?

Oh. I haven’t blogged since September 13. That’s almost 2 months. *weeps*

I have been doing things like being silly in the snow…



Watching sunsets…


sunset alaska


And watching the fog roll into the Mat-Su Valley here in Alaska.




I have been slacking and I have no excuse. I mean, work is busy and time consuming. But if I am being honest, I’ve just been neglecting my blog. Like that old toy you stopped playing with because you got a new one. Well my new toy has been Alaska. It’s taken time to get over the “newness.” So here’s to hoping I get off this silly blogging hiatus and gallivant into more posts.


Stay tuned!!




Outcome Measures in Speech Therapy

As the year marches on, IEPs come due and quarterly reports are nearing. I started asking myself how can I better  understand the outcomes and data of the children I serve? I came across a study by Jacoby, et al. (2002) and liked how they determined outcomes using a functional communication measure.

The purpose of the  study was to investigate the number of therapy sessions needed to facilitate functional communication improvements when delivering services to children from three to six years old with identified speech and/or language disorder(s). One research question asked if the number of treatment units necessary to improve functional communication were affected by age of the child. The answer was yes. Younger children required fewer sessions to demonstrate improvement. For instance, a 3 year old child averaged 95 treatment units (15 min units) to improve 1 level, while a 6 year old required 139 units to improve 1 functional level.

national outcome measure

While the data seems a bit obvious because of how the brain changes with age, I also didn’t think to consider the number of times I get to see my kiddos. I’m realizing how often a quarter of a year can pass by and I don’t get to see the kids the allotted time laid out in their IEPs. Field trips, testing, holidays, sickness, and professional development; these factors play into how much I can change the functional communication of a child. As I prepare IEPs and quarterly report cards, I need to address or at least mention how often or not often I got to see the child. If I only saw a child 3 times instead of 6 yet they made improvement, what does that data suggest? What if I saw a child 6 times instead of 4 times in previous quarters, yet they made little to no improvement? Are the interventions working or is it the time I’ve seen them?

I love to question myself, my approaches, techniques. Data makes me problem solve, think critically about what I’m doing, and re-evaluate if it’s not working. When a report card allows for checking “making adequate progress” vs. “minimal progress”…what am I doing or not doing that I can change to make more progress next time.

This isn’t a game…it’s communication. I’m laying a foundation for a child’s future outcomes. So when I measure how well a child is doing, I want to make sure it matches up with how well they are functionally communicating. With so many variables impacting my sessions, this is just one measure to help analyze where a child is on the communication spectrum. There are so many ways to keep track, but just thought this one was an interesting perspective.


Jacoby, G. P., Lee, L., Kummer, A. W., Levin, L., & Creaghead, N. A. (2002). The number of individual treatment units necessary to facilitate functional communication improvements in the speech and language of young children. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 11, 370-380. [Abstract here]

Mullen, R. & Schooling, T. (2010). The national outcomes measurement system for pediatric speech-language pathology. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 41, 44-60. [Abstract here]


Online Degree Programs in CSD

The spring 2013 Issue of Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders contains an article discussing EBP approaches to providing online education in the area of Speech-Language Pathology. There is such limited information on online SLP programs available. ASHA’s EdFind is limited in that it takes you to universities’ websites and even then it’s like a scavenger hunt to find the details.

The article authors, Duddin & Drulia, cite The Sloan Consortium, a well-established online education leader, when discussing the foundation for programs (2013).  According to Moore (2005), there are 5 pillars to determine the quality of online education:

  1. Learning Effectiveness
  2. Cost Effectiveness
  3. Access
  4. Faculty Satisfaction
  5. Student Satisfaction

4 Virginia universities collaborated to create an online program based on evidence and collaboration; it is called The Distance Learning in Virginia Educating SLPs (DLVE-SLP). The thing I loved most about this article was the amount of time and effort the universities took in creating such a program. They considered the evidence, took a risk, and created a program in order to further the profession.

The competitiveness of SLP graduate schools has created a funnel for all those dreaming of becoming an SLP. With this need, also comes the reality that many universities are trying to “catch up” or “tread water” to meet the need. While ASHA accredited schools must meet standards, every school varies in exactly how they carry out the ASHA-rules and regulations. I am impressed with the thought behind the DLVE-SLP program discussed in the article. It made me wonder what went on behind-the-scenes of my university before it began. Did they ever imagine going digital? How many schools are in the works to create completely online programs? Once more, how many of them are using evidence based approaches to build a framework around online education?

My hope is to see more high-quality, research based online SLP/CSD graduate programs in the future. Maybe then the funnel for entering SLP graduate school will be lessened.

Until next time — Greetings from Alaska!

alaska waterfall

The Clinical Fellowship Experience

Now that I’ve been living in Alaska for a month, I’m gearing up to start work as a Clinical Fellow. I’ve got my trapper keeper, #2 pencils, and an A+ attitude. That’s all you need for a first day, right? I’m going to go with yes. This “Clinical Fellowship” used to be termed “Clinical Fellowship Year” because it would take a year, now the minimum is 36 weeks or 9 months. Basically you are pregnant with newness and experiencing anxiety, cravings for expensive pens, and wondering what to do with all this money you now make. Maybe it should be called “Clinical Fellowship Pregnancy” (sorry gentleman) or “The Fellowship of  Clinicians” (see what I did there?!) or “‘What the heck am I doing?!’ Club”. Just a suggestion, ASHA. Take note. Read the rest of this entry

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