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Will Work For Reimbursement

16 Jul

It’s not question whether higher education is outrageously expensive or not, especially for those who pursue careers that require more than a Bachelor’s degree, like Speech-Language Pathology. Throughout my search I’ve seen some schools charge as much as $60,000+ for the 2.5 or so years of extra education needed for this field. Sorry, there’s no way I can begin to afford even thinking about the debt from that. For that to remotely even out I’d have to either run away to the circus with a dancing monkey, or pray that I managed to get a crazy scholarship amount of 50% or more in order to attend. Well, maybe I got a little carried away there. Some schools do hand out scholarships of up to 75%, which is great. Despite that, it’s a slim chance I’ll be getting that high of an amount. There’s also the fact that more money is handed out to doctoral students, slimming those chances even more.

Luckily, for those who are willing to put in some extra “time” and work, there are some other options for funding. There are some scholarships and grants available, but I’m not here to discuss those today. Instead, I’ve come across some unique opportunities for finding the needle in an intimidating large haystack that is limited educational funding.

First: State Department of Education Scholarships. There are several states, like New York, whose Department of Education will pay you to get your Master’s degree[1]. The catch? Well, there are quite a few, nothing outlandish, but things to consider[1]:

  1. For the NY Dept. of Education (and most likely all other participating state’s education departments), you must attend one of the schools they designate as an affiliate of the program, all of which are in-state.
  2. You must accept your spot in one of the schools before you are told if you receive the money. This may not be an issue for some cheaper schools, but those like New York Medical College, where tuition is quite a bit higher, this can be a problem for some. (But if you get the scholarship, then no problem!)
  3. I should’ve mentioned this first. You have to go through an application process. It’s not simply an apply and you will receive the money. There’s paperwork and interviews and such.
  4. As part of the agreement, after you are finished your education, you must serve at a high-need school for X amount of years. This may vary by state; I believe it was 6 years for New York. I’m not sure if they assign a school to you or you get to pick from a list.

Second: Federal Dept. of Education Scholarships. This one I know less about, but I’ll tell you what I do know. It’s similar to the state scholarships in that they will payfor your education. In addition to that, your end of the deal is working 10 years in a high-need school[2]. Other than that I’m not sure how the process goes or what universities take part in this exchange.

Third: US Military. There are a couple of ways that I’m aware of for this. You may either complete ROTC while in college so that you may study while training and then do reserves or active duty for some years after. Or you may do training/ reserves/active duty before you enter into college, that way you can focus on education later.  (There is the option of school then military, but I’m not sure if they reimburse your education that you do prior to your involvement in the military.) [3] Both options require serving for some time. Some people actually stay and become an officer and work for the military in their respective field.

Fourth: Unique University Scholarships/Grants. Some schools may give you a stipend, pay some of your education or pay all of your education if you partake in a program of theirs. One such example is a grant offered by Western Carolina University where graduate SLP students take 18 extra credits for training that covered the topic of providing SLP services to children with severe disabilities. As part of the agreement students “receive one year of in-state tuition and some professional development,” while in return they “commit to serve people with severe and other disabilities for two years and to mentor at least five people in communication services for people with severe disabilities.[4]” You may want to check into universities that interest you to see if they have any grants or scholarships similar to this.

mini graduation cap on money

mini graduation cap on money (Photo credit: SalFalko)

Fifth: Other. There are several other loan repayment options that are available. Some are available for those in the medical sector, others for educational settings. Many states have loan repayment programs as well. For a list of these, and other possibilities, check out this article’s compilation of money-savers[5]. ASHA also lists MANY options for loan forgiveness and the like, so you might want to take a look [6]. There are also different funding options available by state, which you can view here [7].

Of course there are pros and cons to all of these options. It’s up to you to figure out what yours are and which ones weigh heavier than others. Hopefully one of these, or receiving scholarships from your prospective schools will help your financial woes. Best of luck to all applicants!

Do you know of any other ‘random’ or ‘unique’ graduate school funding opportunities? Perhaps a business hat may offer scholarships in exchange for working several years for them? Or certain states/schools will give in-state tuition to out-of-staters in exchange for something? Or, better yet, money without any catches? (Doubt it, but worth a try! haha)

References/ Sites:

1. Scholarships, Incentives and Special Programs. (n.d.). Teach NYC. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://www.teachnycprograms.net/getpage.php?page_id=60

2. I actually am unable to find the site for this. Bad me, I know. Once I find it I will add it here!

3. Speech-Language Pathologist- Military Options. (n.d.). CFNC.org- Career Profile. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from https://www1.cfnc.org/Plan/For_A_Career/Career_Profile/Career_Profile.aspx?id=CS4kl9fuQq860zn2wusOXAP2FPAXQXAP3DPAXXAP3DPAX&screen=6

4. Peck, M.  & Lamb , H. (2013, February 01). Student’s Say: Why Take 18 Extra Graduate School Credit Hours?. The ASHA Leader. Retrieved Jusy 14, 2013, from http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2013/130201/Students-Say–Why-Take-18-Extra-Graduate-School-Credit-Hours.htm

5. Kinsey, C. (2013, April 15). Student Loan Forgiveness on ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://speech-language-pathology-audiology.advanceweb.com/Features/Articles/Student-Loan-Forgiveness.aspx

6. Finding Financial Aid. (n.d.). American Speech-Language-Hearing Association | ASHA. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://www.asha.org/students/financial-aid/#Federal_and_State_Education_Programs

7. How to Pay For College. (n.d.). The Debt-Free College Guide – eLearners.com. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://debtfree.elearners.com/how-to-pay-for-school/IncentivesSearch.aspx

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Keeping the “Information Itch” at Bay: Resources for Knowledge

4 Jul
English: Books available for Guantanamo captiv...

English: Books available for Guantanamo captives to read. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I have a tendency to have trouble not pondering about academics outside of the school year, I’ve managed to find some ways to stay current and read up on some issues within our field. It’s a good way to stay on top of things, become aware of novel(or recurring) issues within the academic and clinical side of Speech-Language Pathology, as well as soothe the itch of entertaining myself til the school year. Like I said before, I’m a nerd, which is good for this profession, in a sense.

Of course one way I’ve managed to keep the beast at bay is through reading other blogs. It’s interesting to see all the different perspective that professionals and students can have about SLP in general, their specialty, or research. In fact, one blogger, Rachel Wynn, has called her fellow bloggers together to spend some time delving into current research and posing their comments on the article they read [1]. This is quite exciting, as she herself points out that many working SLPs often get caught up in all their work, and don’t have much time to peruse through research, which is why she encourages a post once a month, and then she will collect it all into one post for others to skim through other research for information. It’s quite a great, collaborative idea! Besides this, simply reading other blogs and their take on news, research, techniques, apps or daily happenings in SLP is superb as well. I love seeing all the activities that SLPs come up with. If you want to read some blogs, go to the right side of my page where you’ll see some listed; I actually follow many more that aren’t shown due the amount of blogs and space on this blog design. If you’d like to see more, just e-mail me and I’ll share others! You can also check out the top blogs in any Google search. All of this information will help me in my clinical placements, as well as when I’m a working SLP!

There are also some print materials that aid my SLP-information-itch. If you’re a NSSLHA or ASHA member, you should receive e-mails when a new volume of the latest journal are out, as well as have access to them when they are archived [2]. These include the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (AJSLP) and the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (JSLHR). Some members may also have access to the American Journal of Audiology (AJA) or Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (LSHSS). Students are also subscribed to Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders (CICSD) Journal, which has more articles/research relevant this population [3]. All of these have fascinating research on a variety of topics and have different frequencies of publication, ranging from biannual to every other month. If you do not have the means to have a membership, I do believe that abstracts are free, and there is a $10/article fee or $25 to access all archived articles for a day. So if you’d rather just skim through the archives to read the abstracts and purchase those that strike your fancy, then that could be an option as well. But having a membership does serve well, especially for those in school, as you have unlimited access to research for classes!

Another benefit of membership is the access to Special Interest Groups (SIGs) [4]. These are groups where professionals collaborate and discuss themes pertinent to their specialty. Of course you can join more than one of the nineteen groups, but it does cost some money. These groups range from “Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation” to “Issues in Higher Education” to “Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders” to “Telepractice”. There are plenty more dealing with audiology and it’s components, fluency, gerontology, multiculturalism and language, among others. I’m personally part of “Language Learning and Education” and ” Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Populations”. If I had more money, I would’ve joined a few others as well, since many of them sound interesting! The ones I’m currently in are great, provide so much information… anyway, back to the meat of the post. What these groups offer information-wise are online “Perspectives” which are journals specific to that SIG’s theme, as well as access to discussion boards. I actually get the discussion board correspondences sent to my e-mail. These are extremely helpful, as members bring up issues within the field, as well as for assistance with an issue they are having, which can be helpful to you now or in the long run. Just another way to stay up-to-date on happenings that arise in the profession/ your specialty.

Besides research, there are also newsletters that can help you maintain and gain relevant information. They are also great sources for knowledge on other professionals and sometimes tips for a certain event or problem. The ASHA Leader tends to be more for professionals, but, as I keep hinting at, this can help students learn stuff they might not learn in class as well as shed light on the profession itself. For students, there are also a couple of publications:  NSSLHA In The Loop and NSSLHA Now! Newsletter that publish articles geared towards students within the Communication Science and Disorders realm. They even post CFY listings and accept some articles written by students, so if your creative juices are flowing and you are knowledgable about something of student interest, then have a go and see if you get published! (The CICSD also accepts student research and has a mentoring program.) As with the research journals, these are also archived, just follow the link listed below [5].

Lastly, I’ve become aware of two other opportunities for free-time knowledge quests. First, there’s the ASHA Podcast Series which entail interviews with professionals making strides in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology [6]. I have yet to view these, but once I do I’ll tell you what I think! Second, there are other e-newsletters that ASHA provides which cover several different themes that pertain to all professions under ASHA’s scope [7]. I’ll try to read these over and see if any of them will be added to my reading list. Some seem interesting, so we’ll see!

If this post won’t help your ‘information itch’ then I’m not sure what will! Hope you find some that tickle your fancy and enjoy! Also, if anyone has suggestions of other places for interesting/relevant information, please share!

Related Articles/References:

[1] Blogging About Research : from Rachel Wynn at “Talks Just Fine”

[2] ASHA Journal Archives

[3] CICSD Archives

[4] ASHA Special Interest Groups ‘Perspectives’

[5] ASHA Leader ,   NSSLHA Now! Newsletter  and  NSSLHA In The Loop

[6] ASHA Podcast Series

[7] ASHA e-Newsletters

What’s Up Wednesday: Stroke/ Broca’s Aphasia Headway!

26 Jun

Stroke affects a cast population of people every year. Sadly, numerous stroke sufferers have long-term effects, including speech and language issues. This holds especially true for those who had a stroke in the left hemisphere, where the majority of our communication abilities originate. When there is damage done to this side of the brain, it can lead to Broca’s Aphasia, which is associated with non-fluent speech. In these cases, the person knows what he/she wants to communicate, but doesn’t possess the ability to utter out the entire utterance. In turn, only words or short phrases come out. Other related deficiencies include spontaneous speech, reading and writing, and other communication issues.This condition affects the sufferer’s entire life, as the ability to communicate is vital to daily interactions, which can render the person incapable of holding a job or conversation. Luckily, there has been a decent amount of research on the matter, and one researcher from the University of South Carolina, Dr. Julius Fridriksson, Ph.D. along with his team have found a technique that may be suitable for those with this condition.

 

What he has come to find so far in his preliminary studies, is the possible viability of a technique called speech entrainment. Within this technique, the part that relies on audio-visual feedback seems to prove most promising. The process involves the client to watch and listen to a speaker who talks slowly on an iPod and mimic the speaker simultaneously. Over time, the video portion is taken away and the speaker attempts to speak via audio. In his study with 13 patients, they all went through a 3 week period and practiced speech every day. By the end,the ability to produce spontaneous speech increased, which is superb considering this population of patients rarely see that type of success. So this technique seems to provide some hope for Broca’s Aphasia patients!

 

If you would like to read more, here is the article: http://speech-language-pathology-audiology.advanceweb.com/News/In-The-News/New-Technique-Helps-Stroke-Victims-Communicate.aspx

Dr. Fridriksson also gave a talk on TED about his research and gives some background on Broca’s Aphasia. It includes video of patients talking with this condition, including one who is a severe case and got better after the therapy. It shows his talking with and without the audio-visual feedback, which is neat to watch. It’s only 15 minutes, so here’s the link:  http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy6S7aMmUYo

Specialty Profile: Transgender Voice Therapy

18 Jun

Although I´ve been aware of voice therapy for teachers, musicians and actors or accent reduction therapy for foreigners, I hadn´t given much thought to transgendered people. It´s not due to a fear or ignorance of that population, I´ve just heard more about therapy that was available for foreigners, teachers, etc. After receiving a text bringing up therapy for transgendered people, the gears in my mind started cranking… there´s plenty of people who go through these operations, so why wouldn´t there be therapy for their voices? After all, hearing someone´s voice can be a pretty decent indicator of their gender.

Just a simple search of ¨Transgender voice speech pathology¨(creative, I know) brought up quite a bit of information! There were even some scholarly articles and books listed, albeit most were in Transgender scholarly journals and not written by speech researchers. None the less, the topics seemed interesting! Some of the non-scholarly webpages that were brought up were articles on voice therapy for those that went through the transition, or stories about voice therapy. Some were even speech pathologists´websites stating one of their specialities was teansgender voice femininization-masculinization. There were even fellow transgender people (not certified speech-voice therapists) offering vocal therapy services to teach their techniques.  Even the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) had information on transgender voice therapy! How was I not in the know about this?

From what I read, there´s quite a bit that goes into therapy for these clients. For men that are now female, there is a bigger obstacle of obtaining a feminine voice, as estrogen doesn´t make the voice higher. Female voices also have a higher pitch and rely on intonation rather than volume to stress words in an utterance. These two facts came from the second article below, which has more discrepancies between male and female speech and body langauge. There´s plenty more information in these articles/websites.

A Speech Pathologist who does this work in NY:http://www.transgendervoice.net/about.html

Info-Q&A- Further Reading: (Note, the lady interviewed is not a speech therapist)http://blogs.plos.org/wonderland/2011/08/17/learning-to-speak-like-a-woman/

A Transgendered male-to-female´s website: http://www.lauras-playground.com/transgender_voice_therapist_list.htm

ASHA: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/TGTS.htm

Article on Gov´t giving money to GWU for transgender voice research:http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/gov-t-spending-152500-study-voice-therapy-transgenders

Brochure: http://people.umass.edu/mva/pdf/ComDis%20612%20Student%20Presentations_09/Transgender%20Voice%20Therapy%20Brochure.pdf

Image retrieved from: http://www.rebeccaroot.co.uk/userimages/WebsiteTSLogo1.jpg

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.

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