Archive | January, 2013

What’s Up Wednesday: Speech Accent Archive

30 Jan

Hey all, I’ve found this nifty little ditty while rummaging through the internet the other day, and I think it’s great! This will come in handy for anyone working with a bilingual, multilingual or foreign speech therapy client. It’s called the Speech Accent Archive, and it has a few forms that you can use to find out more information on foreign languages and pronunciation… it even gives the PHONETIC inventory for each language (and there are lotsss of languages on this site. I probably haven’t even 80% of them.) Of course, American Sign Language doesn’t have a phonetic (sound) alphabet, but it is listed on this website under the search page.

One of the neat things this website has, is the ability to browse. You can browse by speaker/language, the region of the native language or you can look up the language’s native phonetic inventory… which I think is very helpful, especially in accent modification!

Under the search area, you can even put in the onset of the speaker starting English, what language is native to that person, how that person learned English (naturally or academically), how long the client has spoken English, if they have any generalizations, etc.

The resources page also has some ‘phonetic generalizations’ that would be helpful for Speech-Language Pathologists working with clients of native languages other than English.

 

Definitely give it a look at. Even if you just want to play around! (The linguist in me is giddy with this new find!)

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SLP Skills Saturday #1

26 Jan

I’ve decided to add another themed day to go along with my “What’s Up Wednesdays”. The new themed day, “SLP Skills Saturday” will be a bi-weekly feature that will highlight a different personality trait or characteristic that I think SLPs need. Hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to follow me or like/comment/share my posts! I love it, and it’ll help me make this blog better. ūüôā

DESIRE TO LEARN

A big aspect of this job is learning, whether it be in your undergraduate, graduate or professional years. This job necessitates a broad scope of subjects to be a licensed SLP, which means that you have to be as well-rounded as possible.

In your undergraduate years you have to study a variety of areas– biological sciences, physical sciences, statistics, communication sciences/disorders, language development, psychology… just to name a few. So, if you thought you could become a SLP without having to take a biology-related or chemistry/physics… think again. You’ll especially need physics for later classes in hearing and speech sciences where you calculate the frequencies of sounds and such.

As for your graduate studies, you’ll do some of these classes more in-depth. So be prepared to build a solid foundation in your undergraduate years to build upon. Of course you’ll also be studying specific disorders related to speech and hearing, and applying them in your clinical sessions. That leads to another thing: be prepared to do clinicals. Think you can be licensed without getting supervised training? Then you might want to look for a different profession. You need many hours (think hundreds, not just tens of hours) of supervised clinical experience in which you will be critiqued on your lesson plans, evaluations and treatments. If that’s not how you want to learn and get accredited, this might not be for you.

Lastly, all SLPs are required to continue learning even after they have graduated and gotten their CCC’s. You’re required to take a certain amount of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) EVERY year. This is to keep you up-to-date on new things happening in the field and to keep you well-rounded (of course, you can probably take some credits in your specialty too. SO maybe not completely well-rounded.) If you don’t want a job that requires you to keep learning each year to¬†stay licensed, then you might want to look elsewhere.

Hope you found this helpful and it wasn’t so negative! Haha. I didn’t mean for it to seem like “don’t do this if…”, that’s just the way this one turned out! Look out for the next “SLP Skills Saturday” in two weeks! (Maybe next week… I’m liking this idea!)

What’s Up Wednesdays: Music and Speech Therapy

23 Jan

I recently came across the article “Musical Strategies” that was archived from the magazine¬†Advance. It was published in November 2012 and written by Louise Patrick, PhD , detailing the incorporation of music into children’s speech therapy programs.¬†

Despite the ever-growing reductions in education funding taking out extra programs like music and art, there is a greater need for children to receive therapy within the school system. Without a doubt, this includes speech therapy. But how can SLPs keep children entertained while learning and expanding their speech abilities? One idea, brought up by Dr. Parker, is the possibility of bringing music into it; after all, children love music.

She brings up a good point that children don’t necessarily need to know the lyrics; they just need to have a basis of sounds which they can mimic to practice sounds found in language. One such example was that of animal noises. They have different contour patterns and inflections that children can use as a foundation for when they start building morphemes and utterances. So, they don’t actually need to learn the words, rather the shapes of the sounds that form the words, which can be facilitated through musical lyrics. But, she also notes that we can use “snippets” from songs to help provide them a repetitive pattern to echo back and build on. This is especially helpful for special needs speech therapy clients.

Another idea is to use songs that pay tribute to a particular sound or phoneme that you want to emphasize. For instance, she mentions using the song¬†Miss Mary Mack,¬†as it includes something physical (clapping) and focuses on “m”. Focusing on a phonological aspect and adding other motor or cognitive tasks can help a child flourish and maintain their attention on the activity more. And of course the music just adds more fun!

I think one of the best parts of this job is the ability to be creative with therapy plans. Adding music is an innovative idea that can help speech therapists in their quest of helping others find their voice. This can prove especially helpful with groups of kids, as they all can sing together and support one another. Plus, who doesn’t love music and some silly dancing or lyrics! Speech therapists should try to find a way to incorporate this into their program, whether it be at schools or even medical facilities! Just look up “music therapy” images on Google, and you’ll find a plethora of hospital and elderly patients utilizing music therapy (whether speech-related or not).

If you’d like more information about her ideas for music and it’s role in speech therapy, then¬†check out the article right here.

Unique SLP Opportunities

22 Jan

Now, you probably have heard of the typical¬†settings in which Speech-Language Pathologists work through your research of the profession. Time and time again you’ve become aware that most SLP graduate students often face the ultimatums of either Medical vs School and Adult vs Child speech therapy. After all, there’s countless blogs written by and for those specialties. And don’t get me wrong, they are a big part of this career, especially the one about Adult vs Children. But what if I told you a little secret? There’s actually other possibilities within this field that you can go into! Of course, you’ll still come across those decisions, but they don’t “have” to be in those settings… ready to listen? You better keep these a secret…

DIALECT COACH: Have you ever envisioned yourself strolling down the streets of LA? Well, now you can do that, and possibly meet actors without having to act yourself! Many actors have to go through accent training for films to gain that southern drawl, new york dialect, or even just to lose their natural one… and guess who has the phonetic knowledge to teach them? SLPs!

VOICE: If someone like say… a singer is having voice issues they may see a doctor. They also might go to a SLP. Part of our training is in voice disorders, and that gives us the¬†necessities to possibly help them recover for/from tours!

ACCENT REDUCTION:¬†Very similar to being a dialect coach, but more for assisting foreigners lose their accent so they can assimilate more into American culture. So, if you’ve always wanted to mingle with foreigners, whether if it’s in the USA or abroad at a language school/ accent center… this could be a viable option!

TRAVEL SLP:¬†Not sure if staying in one facility is the best thing for you? Would you rather be jumping between different facilities and having a broader range of clients? There’s plenty of opportunities for people to be travel SLPs around the USA, just look on some job search engines!¬†

TELEREHABILITATION: Perhaps you’d rather not face the hustle and bustle of a commute. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home parent that would rather work from home. Or you possibly want to reach to clients that don’t have a clinic near them that need speech therapy. It can also be that you want to live abroad, but still have clients from home. All of these are possible reasons why doing telerehabilitation is an interesting choice. It’s gaining popularity, especially with products like Skype making this much easier!

VOLUNTEER/NON-PROFIT: Another possibility is for those that want to take their practices to another level and donate their services to those in other places that lack the supplies and ability to provide speech therapy. There are several companies that take medical personnel abroad, or even domestically, to help these areas in need.

SPECIALTIES/OTHER: Of course there are plenty of other options, such as specializing in a special aspect of SLP. One example could be stuttering… did you know that¬†Samuel L. Jackson himself, as well as¬†King George VI of Britain ¬†both had stuttering issues? … And guess who helped them over come that. I think you already know the answer ūüėČ

Neuroanatomy: Scary, Yet Intruiging

21 Jan

As per the ASHA requirements, and many American graduate program pre-requisites, those wanting to become a certified SLP must take classes in the biological sciences. They must pertain to human or animal biology as well. It makes sense, after all, how do you expect to understanding speech and hearing mechanisms without understanding the underlying mechanisms that are fundamental to their function? Most undergraduate programs consider classes in biology, anatomy, neuroscience and genetics for this requirement. If your someone like me who dreaded biology in high school (for some reason I enjoyed chemistry more.. ¬†I’m a weirdo, I know), this can be a daunting decision, especially since my university dictates I must take 6 semester hours… aka TWO classes in this area for a degree in CSD.

I knew that I didn’t want to take biology. There’s no way I’d touch that with a ten foot pole. But then what should I take? I want to learn and challenge myself, but I don’t want to kill myself either. I knew I’d be required to take anatomy and physiology of speech AND hearing processes as later classes (also required in my program). Plus, I hear that regular A& P at my school is very strenuous… ayy! So this left me with Neuroscience classes, or Genetics. Now, the one part of high school biology I DID enjoy was genetics. I have a feeling that if there was a way I could’ve double- majored in CSD and Genetics without having to take like 5 biology classes/ major in “molecular BIOLOGY”… then I would’ve done that. Sadly, the genetics class (Genes and Diseases) that I did want, was completely full last semester. (No worries, I got in this semester! ūüėČ ) This left me with choosing a Neuroscience class as my first biological sciences fulfillment.

Some of them seemed very daunting, including some that I had no idea what they meant. Then my eye caught something that sounded hopeful: Brain and Behavior. Well, I enjoy behavioral sciences. I find psychology and sociology interesting. And psychology also includes the brain, which I’d like to no more about at the physiological and neuronal level. So, I took a leap of faith a decided to take it.

The first class proved to be nerve-racking; I found out that our grade was based on 3 test scores. THREE TEST SCORES. First, this is a neuroanatomy/neuroscience class… now I have to manage to compress all this information into my brain and remember it for three tests? Ahh, not good. I’m more of a homework, quizzes and midterm/final kind of person. The more grades, the merrier! Somehow, I managed to get the hang of this neuroanatomy stuff. First I had to learn the inner workings of the brain, what part does this, what little things link to other little things to make a bigger thing happen, what happens if one fails… basically all the things I hated about biology, but in the brain. Then, we got into the more interesting subjects and seeing that basis of information being applied on a broader scale. Now, I was truly invested.

 

We began to relate this knowledge to diseases. In fact, quite a few dealt with disorders in the realm of SLP. Two of them were the ever-popular Wernicke’s and Broca’s Aphasias. The neuronal information that we had learned in the beginning actually helped me learn about these speech disorders as I could apply all the circuitry and figure out that if something was wrong in this section of the brain, then the outcome would result in a certain Aphasia, and other behavioral deficits. By not only knowing how it affected the patient’s Aphasia, but the other disabilities it could cause can help a lot in the field of Communication Science and Disorders. After all, in my post about Temple Grandin’s speech, if we can’t understand the¬†other things involved besides the speech problem, how can we properly address and treat our patients?

 

After all was said and done, I received a decent grade in the class. I also realized that although the title “Neuroscience” as a course classifier maybe seem overwhelming and intimidating, it can prove to be less of a task and more of a learning process. And a fun one at that! Plus, as I seem to re-learn every semester, one class you take may not seem to relate to others you are in, but eventually you find a connection. It’s also about applying those connections in order to utilize them within your profession and enriching yourself along the way.

Supplements (aka Gaining Experience… aka Getting Those 25 Hours)

18 Jan

As per the CSD program at my school, we are required to have 25 hours of observation of SLPs/Audiologists in order to graduate with a BS in CSD. Now, I don’t know much about other university’s programs, but I think all future SLPs and Audiologists in training need these as well. Luckily most students around here can achieve this goal in a class that my university provides. BUT… who wants to be average? Most graduate programs want people that have a list of observation/volunteer/shadowing hours that they can boast about. Of course, for those, like me, who haven’t ¬†been volunteering at a summer camp for 5 years may be a bit perplexed as to where to find these elusive opportunities to become competitive and be able to hold those Graduate Admissions people’s gaze for longer than a second with a piece of paper. After all, it’s kinda scary knowing that you have to layout all of your hard work and extra experiences on a paper only in hopes that it’ll supplement the stellar statement of intent and amazing letters of recommendation you’ll provide. To help,I’ve compiled a list of possible places you can find these seemingly hard-to-find resume boosters.

 

*Note: I say resume builders, but you should in no way simply do these to help your chances. You should want to help people and gain experience in your field anyway! The main, and primary, reason I am doing these is because I truly like helping others and I want to get involved in my community and learn about my field. After all, if the admissions committee asks why you took part in X with Y population, you’ll be stuck if you just want to say it was for your resume. You want to have an attachment to what you do so you can elaborate on why you chose that place and how it pertains to you as a person and what you want to do in life. (The good thing about this field is that there is a vast array of places you can volunteer to suit you.)

 

Observations:

SLP/AUD offices ¬† ¬†– ¬† ¬†Hospitals (Childrens, Medical) ¬† – ¬† ¬†Specialty Places (Ear& Eye Clinics, Voice Centers, Accent Reduction Areas, Swallowing… most hospitals have these within their practices too!) ¬† – ¬† Daycare (Adult, Children, Handicapped/Disabled) ¬† ¬†– ¬† ¬†Schools (Regular, Special Ed, Deaf/Blind) ¬† – ¬† After School Programs ¬†– ¬† War Vet Places

 

Volunteering:

Library(reading to kids, tutor)  Р  Education (tutor/mentor, after school, urban literacy programs)   Р  SLP/AUD offices   Р  Hospitals    Р  Elderly home   Р  Daycare (regular, special needs)    Р Youth Mentoring Programs (Big Brother/Sister, YMCA, JumpStart   Р   ESL student conversation partner   Р  Tutor (children, adult literacy learners, Refugees, ESL, or at your university)    Р  Summer Camps for Special Needs   РASHA convention

 

Clubs:

NSSLHA ** (local chapter, national chapter)   Р  Linguistics Club   Р  YMCA   Р  Any about literacy, tutoring  Р  volunteer clubs

 

Research:

Language and Psychology/Brain   Р  Speech   Р  Aural   Р  Child Language Acquisition   Р Speech Disorders   *look up professors interests and e-mail ones you might like working with

 

 

Hope these ideas help! I’d say aim for 45-50 volunteer/observation hours to be competitive!

Schwa Has One Good Life…

18 Jan

Here’s a quick little linguistic joke since the weekend is just about there! Time for some (minor) relaxation! I just love these “Linguist Llama” memes… some are quite funny.:)

On a side note: I’ve finally got some responses back on possible SLP shadow opportunities! Now I just need to get some more responses, as well as some volunteer placements and I’ll be one happy lady this semester!

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