Tag Archives: SLP

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

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.

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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

The 1000 Piece Puzzle: Picking Your Perfect SLP Grad School

13 Jul

Ahh, the joys of being a junior in the education system again. This period in anyone´s education career, high school or undergraduate, can bring on many questions and fears, as well as anxiety and excitement about the future. At least I can say I´m ‘experienced´with this, as it´s my second go around. I get to have to fun of diving into the university searching once again, investigating the options and questioning them later on until I´m certain Ive picked the best ones. At least I have figured out my passion in life and now it is simply finding the best school for my needs and interests, so that helps take a load off my short stature.

There are some similarities in looking for an undergraduate and graduate program, which do make the process somewhat similar and easier to navigate. But as with everything, even grad school searching presents some new challenges as well, such as: Do the ratings count? Medical or Educational focus? What makes a program superb and-or well-known? Are smaller, lesser-known schools just as good? What about online programs? … and I can probably list 100 more questions that have been gnawing at me since I began my search. (I´ve even had some dreams lately regarding graduate school. So the ´fun´just doesn´t end!) … Before you begin to worry, I´m completely fine! It´s simply that my mind loves to keep on thinking, even when my body wishes it´d rest for some well-deserved, non-SLP related sleep.)

I´m certain others are are in the same situation as myself, anxious to begin their search and visit programs, so I´ve complied a list of characteristics that may help narrow down one´s higher education pursuit and create a humongous, personalized grad school puzzle.

Location: There are actually quite a few things related to location that might weigh heavily in one´s decision on graduate school. First: the type of environment the school is in. Some may prefer city life or suburban/rural. And even within that… you may want the suburban feel, but with access to a city for entertainment and clinical opportunities. For me, I know I´d like to stay in the Eastern US due to proximity to family (although going abroad would be sweet). Second: Climate. Each area of the US and Canada is home to it´s own climate. If you´re a hot-weather-lover from Florida who hasn’t seen snow in your life, perhaps attending a university in Canada or New Hampshire isn’t for you. Even along that, you may be accustomed to Pennsylvania´s humid heat, but not Arizona´s dry heat. Third: Connections. Some opt to attend a university in the general area where they wish to work and live beyond graduation. This is great for building local professional networks before graduating!

Online vs In Person: Similar to the location puzzle piece, you may want to consider if you are able to travel and live in a different setting than you are now. Would you rather stay home, find clinical placements in your area and be near the ones you love? Maybe you have a family to take care of and your partner has a steady job that you’d rather not leave. Keep in mind, you may have a higher aptitude for learning in-person than online, or you may not have the self- motivation for solely studying online. Also, due to the increased popularity in online programs over the past few years, they have become quite competitive to be accepted into! Some are also fairly expensive, and don’t allow for research or other educational/funding opportunities.

Results: Check the program’s outcomes on the Praxis, employment and graduation rates. How many of each cohort graduate, pass the Praxis and are employed after obtaining their CCC’s. These are indicators of how well-prepared their students are with the education the school offers.

Size of Program: There are two things under this category that go hand-in-hand: school size and cohort size. Do you want to attend larger or more well-known university? Does having a more recognized school on your resume matter to you? …What about the number of students in accepted into your cohort? Each program allots for a certain number of acceptances, and even then only a fraction of those attend. Cohorts are generally small in this field, but they can still range from something small like 15/20 to a ‘larger’ group of 30/40 (some may be larger, I’m not sure.). All cohorts have their own sense of a family and level of tight-knittedness, depends on how large of a group you feel comfortable with!

Faculty-Research: Make sure the faculty are interested in the same disciplines as you are, especially if you want to research on the side. By having faculty interested in similar things you are, you are open to a wealth of knowledge that you can access and present questions to. If you wish to learn more about bilingual populations but no one in your school is well-versed in that, then how will you gain the knowledge you need to work with that population later?

Cost: For a number of graduate students this is a major issue. Most schools have a lower in-state tuition, which may want you to seek education in your state. Some schools offer great scholarship or assistantship packages. You have to keep an eye out for these types of things when you decipher the patterns in the graduate school puzzle. Of course, some also place cost lower on the pedestal if the clinical placement options are great. It’s up to you to weigh which is more important.

Thesis Option: Do you wish to do a Master’s thesis to research a specific topic you’re intrigued in or to begin your publishing career to build up your doctoral application? Some schools only offer the comprehensive exam option, so you’ll want to make sure it has this option. ALSO make sure the professors are well-published and well-known in their respective fields, and preferably still publishing and researching. You want them to hold PhDs, as well. These are those little color indicators in the puzzle that tell you this school is great for research and still cranking it out with engaged faculty.

 

These are only the edge pieces of the puzzle. Be sure to check back soon for the filler pieces that you may want to consider for completing the puzzle for your perfect school! Good luck to all you #preslp and #slp2b students in your endeavors!

Bloglovin’ Bandwagon

6 Jul

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I’ve caved in and joined Bloglovin’! I’m so glad I did, it has such a clean,organized interface and makes it easy to find/follow blogs! In fact, it might be too easy, as I think I went slightly overboard following almost every speech-language pathology site available (as well as other sites related to SLP or not). I just love the categories!

As of right now, I’m currently in the process of getting those nifty social media buttons to make it easier to follow my blog. It’s just a matter of finding ones I like that have all the media buttons I need, and I’ll put them up!

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

One Door (Almost) Closes…

1 Jul

So, I was recently given the opportunity to possibly volunteer in the Speech Dept. at a satellite campus of a local children’s hospital. This would just be for some hours a week, from July- August. Awesome, right?! The only issue is, the campus I was assigned to is 1-1.5 hours by bus, and the last 15 minutes, according to Google Maps, can only be completed by car/taxi. Well, I won’t have a car at school, and I don’t plan on taking a taxi… even if I could find one in that area?! Walking the last stretch is worse, adding another 1-2 hours. Yikes! I e-mailed the volunteer coordinator, asking how many days a week the position is. If it is only one, then perhaps I could find a means of transportation through a friend or something. Which would be great! But, we’ll have to wait and see. Luckily, the coordinator told me I could also defer this volunteer position until next summer, which would be great and I could possibly have more time volunteering since I’m not even back in the US til mid-July!

With that said, despite this one door possibly closing, another one is opening! A professor posted a volunteer opportunity on our club’s Facebook group. There’s a camp for children who communicate through Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems (AAC).  It’s only for three days, which is perfect. Just enough time to get my feet wet in this division of SLP and Linguistics and actually see this form of communication first-hand. (Well there’s multiple forms of AAC from pointing to pictures, to gesturing all the way to simulated speech like Stephen Hawking.) So this would be an exciting camp to be a part of! I’ll be e-mailing the director later today about volunteering and let you know when I hear back! Stay tuned!

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

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