Tag Archives: ASHA

The 1000 Piece Puzzle: Picking Your Perfect Grad School Pt. 2

19 Jul

As promised, here is the second edition of hints for picking the pieces to finish your grad school puzzle. These are in no way to be weighed less than the previously posted characteristics for deciding on which programs to apply to/ attend. In fact, some of these may need more consideration than the others. Of course that is for you to decide, but if you wish to see the other list for comparison, then click here. There has also been great comments from others about factors to consider, so be sure to check it out. 🙂

Here is the second list of items that you may want to chew on (but don’t accidentally aspirate on them, please.):

-Opportunities Available: Most of these come down to money, but some come somewhat hand-in-hand with that along with educational gains. Research Assistant – If you wish to engage in research with a professor, make sure the school allows for this. After that, check to see if any faculty are currently open to supervise a student researcher. Most teachers have a limited number of slots for RAs, and those spaces often go to doctoral students. Graduate Assistant – Does the school also have spaces for graduate assistants?  Do they give preference to certain students? The school I currently attend for undergrad only allows alumni undergraduate students to be graduate assistants for the department. Student Teaching/ Teacher’s Assistant – are there opportunities to student teach or be a teacher’s assistant? These could be viable options. They also are great building blocks for your CV and may help with getting a CFY. On-Site Clinic Some universities don’t have on-site clinics. This may not be a huge issue, but having one may provide another site for possble work. Some universities have clinics in which students can work. Student Teaching.

GRE or MAT accepted: Although the majority of schools accept the GRE, some will accept the MAT as well. For some applicants this isn’t an issue, but for those who are not great at timed standardized tests, this can be a huge benefit. Most that do accept the MAT accept it in conjunction with the GRE, though. Luckily, there are some programs that don’t require the GRE, or just a lower score is accepted. For a list of these schools, click here.

Clinical Placements: This one is another multi-colored puzzle piece. First, as mentioned above, is there an on-site clinic? Some studente prefer having an on-site clinic available as a back up if off-site clinic placements don’t work or just for further experience and education. Second, what clinical placements are available? If you are interested in aphasia, are there clinical placements available that may have aphasia placements? What about bilingual/multi-cultural populations? Are there outpatient or inpatient facilities if you’re interested in those? Make sure placements that you want are available.

Research vs Clinical Orientation: There are some schools more research-oriented than clinically-oriented. This may impact your education and placements or opportunities/funding. This may take some dumpster-dive-type searching, but it’s good information to know.

Medical vs Educational Based: Many, many schools are geared towards education setting clinical education. There are few that actually focus on, or are more geared towards, the medical setting. This doesn’t mean both school types don’t offer clinical placements in the other setting or that if you go to one you will have great trouble finding jobs in the other sector, but you may be more well prepared for the specific setting. As far as I know there are a limited number that are medically based, of which you can view a list here. Also, the University of Pittsburgh offers a Clinical Doctorate (CScD) degree that’s medically based. You can find that (and 2-3 other ‘SLP clinical doctorate’ degrees (SLPD)) on ASHA’s EdFind, although I’m not sure if the others are medically-focused.

Specializations/Certificates: Generally, most schools have some sort of specialty. Gallaudet has Deaf Studies; Penn State is known for AAC. Depending on your interests you may want to find a school that fits that. On top of that, some schools offer Graduate Certificates in certain studies. You may want to check into that as well, as they can give you valuable knowledge.

Program Start Date/ Program Length: There are some programs who have Winter, Spring or Summer start dates. A good amount of these are online programs, but there are a some on campus programs who begin at these unconventional times as well.  I’ve also heard of a handful of schools with alternating admissions, admitting students every other year. You also may want to consider program length. This mostly pertains to those without a CSD degree or opt to do online programs, as these generally take an extra semester or two.

Accreditation: Lastly, and what I would argue is the most important piece of the puzzle, the one that ties everything in, is accreditation. MAKE SURE IT IS ACCREDITED by The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). If it’snot accredited by this, ASHA  will not recognize your degree. To find those that ASHA recognizes, you can search for schools viaEdFind.

Once you’ve put the puzzle together and found some viable schools that can fit into it, talk to current or past students. You can find some on the Facebook, GradCafe, and Twitter groups. You can view my post on social media

If you have any hints, tips or pointers as to how you decided between schools, please feel free to share as well!


education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

for places to connect to people. You can also attempt to find professionals taht supervise clinicals for your prospective schools– they can give insight on how well prepared students are. This may be harder to do, but worth a shot.

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

Tips For A Good (School) CFY

24 Jun

As I mentioned a few days ago, I complete my first class on a Continuing Education Unit (CEU) website. It was so exciting! I guess that’s partially because I’m a nerd and enjoy learning. The course I decided to begin with was ” Launching Your School SLP Career With a Great CF Experience” presented by : Jean Blosser, Ed.D., CCC-SLP. Despite the title exclusively stating “school”, she iterates that these same principles can be applied to those in the medical-side of SLP as well. You might have to change a student for a client or recess duty for other responsibilities while she talks, but Jean makes it very clear that you can transfer these ideas to different settings.

Over all, I was thoroughly pleased with the course. Jean was able to delve into some of the key components of having a good CFY experience, particularly dealing with the mentor- mentee relationship. She actually created this seminar to be aimed at both parties, so aspiring/current mentors and future mentees could benefit from the information. I’m glad she did, as this relationship often makes or breaks the CFY. She delves into what could be considered the key parts of this partnership: finding the ideal mentor, important steps/goals for the experience, why the school setting may be challenging, what the mentor can help with, tips for creating and fostering an enriching partnership, communication strategies and benefits of mentoring. All of these are superb points to tackle, some I wouldn’t even have thought of! Jean also includes several examples of students and their mentoring journey, which help bring her lecture to a higher level of connectivity with the person taking the course.

My notes!

I’ll provide some of the helpful hints she discussed in her seminar:

Communicating doesn’t require that the mentor always be commenting/ constructively criticizing the mentee. Rather, both can partake in training sessions together and discuss their opinions, or the mentee can teach the mentor the material. They can discuss scenarios and ask for advice on what to do. They can role model or demonstrate an assessment or treatment technique or therapy scenario for discussion…

-Find/provide helpful resources for effective therapy services. The mentor can suggest different media that the mentee can utilize for therapy plans, such as: delivery philosophies, state/federal/local regulations and guidelines, school curriculum, and websites. The mentee can show the mentor some as well, or ask for advice on a source or technique.

– Non-ASHA mentor qualifications. ASHA does lay out the requirements that a student should look for in a mentor, but Jean also lists some additional, creative and insightful “requirements” as well. For example, sharing the same interests or backgrounds may be helpful, especially if the mentee has a specific career goal he/she wishes to achieve. Along the same lines, having similar personality and learning styles will aid the partnership. Willingness to communicate on multiple platforms is also ideal, as well as flexibility, as one form of communication may not always work or schedules may change.

Mentee responsibilities are also a key aspect of this joint partnership. The mentee must recognize that mentor comments shouldn’t be taken defensively, rather constructively. If the mentee feels that goals aren’t being met, he/she should try to discuss/reconsider previous approaches with the mentor. One item I think that is worth highlighting is the idea that the mentee should write down what the mentor says and paraphrase it when talking to the mentor to make sure it is correct.

There are also several supplemental papers that she included with the course. These are helpful for both mentor and mentee in building an ideal relationship and therapy environment. I know I’ll be keeping them handy for when I head into clincal sessions as a graduate student and when beginning my journey finding a CFY mentor.

I’m very pleased I chose this course, and I’m excited to begin my next one!

Student “non-CEU” Classes

23 Jun

Remember how I mentioned that I registered for an online CEU company? Well, As of yesterday, I have now completed my first ‘non-CEU’ class. It is technically a CEU (Continuing Education Unit) course, but as I am not a professional Speech-Language Pathologist (yet), it doesn’t count for credit. But I still get a certificate of completion if I receive an 80% or above on the test that follows! And guess  what? This girl got a 90%! I’m so happy! If you aren’t on this bandwagon yet, I suggest you do so. Yes, it costs about $49/year for a student account, but there’s plenty of other aspects that make it worth the while:

-Applications– Grad school applications, that is. These classes are extremely great assets to have in your educational arsenal when applying to grad school. They will show that you are not just dedicated to this field, but you are really, truly dedicated to it. You are not only interested in learning within the school system, but you want to learn more on your free time. That should get some of those admissions officers eyebrows raised.

Knowledge– It’s always important to maintain and expand your knowledge– especially when it comes to the field you work in. Our field  has become so vast in the past years that there’s much to know, almost too much. Taking these classes will assist you in this never-ending, but fun, endeavor. Say you read something in the news about Autism or Animal-Assisted Therapy and you want to learn more about those issues within Speech-Language Pathology, you can look up some courses about that and take them! There’s plenty to choose from.

Education– On a similar note, these classes can act as fillers (possibly, not guaranteed) that provide extra information on topics you learning in school. Perhaps you’re behind or confused about a subject and want a different perspective, or you want to know some information before taking a class the upcoming semester. One way to accomplish those could be taking related classes through companies like these. Just make sure you get some sort of recognition at the end and ASHA approves of the company. One way to do that is by looking for classes on this site: http://www.asha.org/eweb/csdynamicpage.aspx?webcode=coursesearch

Variety of Methods– At least the website I use has a variety of means through which the learner may view the material. So, whether you are a visual, auditory, or text-based learner, there are  classes for you. In fact, the same class may be available in all three mediums, which is great. There are also live Webinars you may partake in, where you can ask the presenter questions while he/she teaches the material. I’ve also seen virtual conferences are available!

Extra Material- Many classes also have supplemental information for your benefit. You can save and print them out as you deem necessary. These are great to have for future reference and to jog your memory if you forget something later down the road. Of course, if you want to use them for therapy or handing out to clients, then you’ll have to ask permission from the presenter.

Those are just a few reasons to take some CEU classes for no credit as a student. I’m sure there are plenty more!

*I use http://www.speechpathology.com . This was not an endorsement or an expression of their opinions. These are solely my opinions.

ASHA Convention Volunteer ?!

22 Jun

Each year the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has a convention for all professionals whose work related to communication (speech-language pathologists, audiologists, speech and hearing scientists). Along with the professionals, students in the respective fields are invited to attend the event as well. There are a plethora of speakers to listen to, with many slots for attendees to choose from over the 3 day convention (Nov.14-16 in Chicago) . In addition to speakers, there is an exhibition room filled with booths from graduate programs, businesses, etc. Such a superb learning opportunity!

ASHA recognizes that students may not have the funding to attend this event, which is a relief. To aid students who want to attend, they have the opportunity for students to volunteer at the convention. Students can choose which area(s) of the convention they would like to volunteer in and get refunded the cost of the  convention. Not only does this help financially, but it gives students the opportunity to actually see what goes into maintaining and running the convention, as well as networking opportunities! Who could pass that up?

There’s just a small catch– only some students are selected. They also give priority to NSSLHA members. It’s understandable, as I’m sure they receive more than a couple boat-loads of applications! Plus, if you’re aiming on becoming a professional SLP, why wouldn’t you join the student organization? It does cost some money, but it’s a great thing to have on your resume and in general. You have access to Special Interest Groups and articles and much more.

With all this said, I sent in my application to volunteer… so excited! Now it’s just a waiting game until October 2nd. I guess this’ll act as a preview to grad school application season and the waiting!

For those of you who would like to volunteer, here’s a link to the application: http://www.asha.org/Forms/Convention-Student-Volunteer-Application/

Good Luck!

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

Professional Network of a Speech-Language Pathologist: Audiologist

10 Jun

Although it may seem as though it’s a one (wo)man team for diagnosing and treating those with communication and swallowing deficits, there’s actually much more to it. Each patient is completely unique and typically requires more than one professional in his/her care team. Of course, not all will need what seems like an entire hospital staff, but many clients that a SLP may come across may have at least one other professional.

There’s also an exception to every rule. The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), the country’s association for SLPs, Audiologists and related researchers, recommends/requires that an audiologist exams an individual who has a suspected communication or swallowing disorder as part of a Speech-Language Pathologist’s assessment.

Why? It does seem a little odd. Why would a hearing and balance doctor need to assess someone who possibly can’t swallow or speak effectively? How do ears affect your mouth or talking? Well, they may not affect swallowing as much, but they are a vital part of the “Speech Chain” [picture below]  as my one professor calls it. Ears are an intensely vital part of the communication system. Just take a moment and imagine trying to have a conversation with a person while having headphones on… is their speak muffled? or maybe you can’t even hear them at all? This sort of segues into why an audiologist is a key participant in a SLP’s professional and assessment network. They must assess whether (especially for young children or those in an accident) there is an obstruction or other issue with the auditory system that is creating the communication deficit. If so, then it could just be that the person needs a hearing aid or some other action to fix the issue and won’t require speech therapy. That’ll help identify the issue correctly and save the client time and money.  If the client doesn’t have an auditory issue, or still wants/requires speech therapy for other reasons, then the SLP may assess the patient further to find the best therapy plan. There’s also the chance a client may require both professionals as part of his/her therapy plan, with management and reassessment as time goes on.

This is just one professional that a SLP will most likely work with in the course of his/her career. I’ll be sure to write about others as time goes on! Hope this was interesting and helpful!

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Retrieved from: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_rvWQRDdyLC8/TLb4HzvNTVI/AAAAAAAAAAs/mTwf52IdBIw/s1600/Blog%235.gif


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