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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A Must-Buy book for New SLPs


There hasn’t been a week during this first year as an SLP that I haven’t turned to pages in this book with an unmistakable urge to hunt down the authors and hug them forever.

Secord, W. A., Boyce, S. E., Donahue, J. S., Fox, R. A., & Shine, R. E. (2007). Eliciting sounds: Techniques and strategies for clinicians [spiral bound]. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning. 

It runs about $50-$70. When I first bought this book, it didn’t feel important. It was almost like a leaflet you might pick up at a doctor’s office. Like an adult “Highlights Magazine”, except more expensive. Now days, it holds an esteemed place of honor in my top right hand drawer. Easily accessible. Always nearby. I would pay $100 for this gem.

I’m hoping this book is a standard required reading source in SLP grad school. If not, then buy it. You won’t regret it.

That is all for now. I’m cold…in Alaska…breaking news, huh? 🙂

In related news:

Interview with Wayne Secord on his book

Wayne Secord presentation on elicitation techniques

Eliciting /k/ and /g/ with help from Secord’s book

SLP Clinical Fellowship – Honestly


4 years of an undergraduate degree followed by 2 years getting a Master’s degree, all you really think about is that first payday when you start your Clinical Fellowship. Something about being paid for the work you are doing – it rights the soul. All those sleepless nights studying, worrying, writing, reading – ugh! If I had been paid for the work I invested in my education, let’s just say you could all come stay with me on my own Alaskan homestead.

Now, some honesty…

knight echo

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Searching for an SLP-CF position: Start Now!


Ready. Set. Search!!

Are you graduating in 2014 with your Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology or Communication Sciences and Disorders? Yes? Well get cracking on the job hunt. It’s not too early. Searching for a CF position is like Christmas Eve for SLP grad students. At least, it was for me. So, I’m going to share in the excitement for others looking for a Clinical Fellowship position the year they graduate.

When I started writing this post, I had wanted to share all my grand ideas for searching in all types of job prospects. Yet, I have no experience outside applying to schools and hospitals. I haven’t pursued any other job prospects. So for now, this post is limited to searching for a position in schools and hospitals because that’s my experience.  If you are interested in private practice, home health, SNFs, or contract companies – contact me directly via my Contact form; I am 100% sure I know someone who can help you.

med vs school

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SLP Clinical Fellowship – Qualities of a Mentor


You guys….today marks two quarters of my first year as a Speech-Language Pathologist. That’s pretty much half way.  10 blog posts ago I was complaining about tests and exams. Now, I’m complaining about too many progress notes and not enough hours in the day.  Nothing quite like it – and I love it.

I was talking to my Clinical Fellowship mentor/supervisor yesterday about when she was doing my next observation, and she apologized that she might not make it over before Christmas break. I was so flustered about finishing evaluations and progress notes, that I honestly forgot she was supposed to come. This wonderful woman has made herself available to me at any time. She’s set things aside to come and observe me.  I am just thankful to have her time via phone/email, much less her making time to come see me.

I write all that to say, finding a Clinical Fellowship mentor, ideally, should be like a fond Christmas memory. You can always call on that memory to feel better, to calm down, to reminisce that life isn’t always this crazy. Christmas for me was about being with family who made you feel comfortable and reminded me that people are looking out for you. That’s what my mentor has been for me, whether she knows it or not.  Often times, a CF mentor is selected for you or maybe have more than one. I would like to share my thoughts on the qualities a great CF mentor should have:  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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First Week – Clinical Fellowship


I made it. This was the first full week starting my SLP-CF here in The Last Frontier. I have about 50 + kiddos on my caseload and couldn’t be more excited. All the preparation in the world couldn’t have prepared me for sitting down at my desk in front of a cabinet full of working files, and figuring out how I’m going to make this work. On more than one occasion, I wanted to stop and ask someone, “Excuse me, could you tell me how to do my job?” But I gathered my newbie-baggage, shook-off the overwhelming feelings, and tackled my job. Sink or swim people…and the water is cold.

Matanuska Glacier 2013

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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

New Beginnings


I live in Alaska.

There have been many obstacles since I decided to move to Alaska and work as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Where would I work? Where would I live? How would I get around? Could I make it with the long days of sunlight and long days of darkness? How expensive is it to move? The questions seemed more overwhelming than the dream of living in Alaska.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

Here I sit, in my cozy Alaskan cabin: A car in my driveway, food in the fridge, a contract in hand, and nothing but blue skies. I have no idea what my first year as an SLP-CF in AK will be like, but I have come this far so I will continue to trust, look forward, and know this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

I won’t be changing my blog to add any Alaska-related content, other than what relates to my practice as an SLP. However, if you would like to follow my personal journey to becoming an Alaskan woman, feel free to add me on Google Plus. I am treating that account like a blog all about my adventures, successes, and everyday dealings while I find my way in Alaska.

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