ASHAsphere Summer Vacation

Summer Time (I)

Photo by pasotraspaso

Hope you all are having a great, relaxing summer. This is just a quick post to say ASHAsphere is taking a little summer break too–so enjoy a few days with one less item in your Google reader or email inbox! We’ll be back with a new post on Thursday, August 9, but in the meantime, if you’re looking for some reading material, you can always check out some of the blogs from “The Best Speech-Language Pathologist Blogs from A-Z” post that Heidi Kay did back in March.

Spending your summer online time on Pinterest instead of reading blogs? You can follow us there for a mix of ASHA content, study resources, therapy ideas, classroom organization ideas and even just some fun crafts.

If you’re a blogger and interested in applying to be an ASHA Convention blogger, there’s still time–applications are due on Friday, August 10. The details and link to the application are here.

Finally, a huge thanks to all the wonderful ASHAsphere bloggers for their continued contributions–they are what makes this blog such a great and popular resource. And of course thank you, too, readers–there are many, many CSD blogs out there with more cropping up each day, and we appreciate you reading along with us each week. As always, if you have suggestions for posts you’d like to see, leave a comment or, if you would like to write for us, apply to become an ASHAsphere blogger.

For Children with Hearing Loss, Parents’ Desired Outcomes Should Drive Early Intervention & Use of Hearing Technology


Photo by bjorn knetsch

Just this past week, a hallway conversation with a colleague underscored the frustration that parents and caregivers of children with hearing loss seem to encounter on an all-too-frequent basis. My colleague described a situation whereby some very diligent parents had chosen to pursue bilateral cochlear implantation for their 10-month old son with a profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Even though they had gathered a mountain of information, received support from their pediatrician, approval from their insurance company, and spoke to countless other parents – some of whom had chosen cochlear implants for their children with hearing loss and others who had not – they found the most resistance from their early intervention providers. Not only were these professionals unsupportive, they provided grossly inaccurate information about cochlear implants and listening and spoken language outcomes. It was plainly obvious to these parents that they had obtained more knowledge than the “professionals” who were there to serve them. Unfortunately, this scenario is repeated too often throughout the United States.

Almost without exception, parents want their children to have more successful lives than themselves. Whether that success be academic, social, or career-related, parents want what is best for their children. Determining what is “best” is a complicated process. Parents must use their own familial experiences, cultural perspectives, belief systems, and knowledge to make decisions that will affect the developmental, communicative, and academic success of their children.

For parents of young children with hearing loss, research informs us that approximately 95% of these parents are hearing themselves and have little or no experience with deafness. Usually, their only exposure to deafness is what they’ve seen portrayed in the media or the occasional interaction with an older relative with an age-related hearing loss.

So, what are parents to do and how should they determine what is best for their infant or toddler who has been diagnosed with hearing loss? Once that diagnosis is confirmed, parents need access to information about communication options and expected outcomes, hearing technology, and the available services in the community. The child’s audiologist is a pivotal professional in this process as he or she should get this discussion started. The range of hearing technology, such as digital hearing aids, cochlear implants, and assistive listening devices should be thoroughly reviewed and prescribed. Then, the family should be referred to an early intervention program (usually a statewide system), and appropriate early intervention services should be initiated.

The type, frequency, and intensity of the early intervention services should be based on the parents’ desired outcomes for the child. That is, if the child’s parents have decided that they want their child to be eventually mainstreamed in a local public school with hearing peers and to communicate using spoken language, then early intervention services should be structured to support those desired outcomes. Too often – in too many states – parents are given a very limited menu of services that are available and simply told which services will be provided. Of course, when this occurs, it fails the test of having services that are individualized, and the services certainly are not driven by what the parents want for their child with hearing loss.

Ultimately, parents need to make informed decisions about what they consider is appropriate for their child. They need to gather information from multiple sources, speak to other families who have navigated the system, and make sure they are informed about their rights. Each state has its own unique way of doing things, including how federal laws are interpreted and services provided. With perseverance and due diligence, parents usually can structure services that are appropriate for their child. The key is to be persistent and to not give up until the services provided support those long-term, desired outcomes that are envisioned for the child!

(Note: This blog was adapted from an original posting by the author on the Better Hearing Institute’s Pediatrics Blog.)


K. Todd Houston, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT, is an Associate Professor in the School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at The University of Akron. His primary areas of research include spoken language acquisition in children with hearing loss, strategies for enhancing parent engagement in the intervention process, Auditory-Verbal Therapy, and telepractice. He directs the Telepractice and eLearning Laboratory (TeLL), an initiative to evaluate clinical practices in the area of distance service delivery in Speech-Language Pathology.

6 Things to Look For When Choosing Your Continuing Education Provider

Made me smile...

Photo by Brett Jordan

The Internet is changing how and where we learn. Make sure you know what to look for when shopping for your next online continuing education course.

Creating and selling online continuing education is a rapidly growing industry, a fact that is great news for busy SLPs and audiologists. It’s become easier than ever to complete your national association and/or state mandated CE requirements quickly, conveniently and inexpensively.  And that means it’s more important than ever to know what to look for when shopping for a provider. Choosing the wrong one can result in a very dissatisfying educational experience and unwanted stress.  The following list will help you find the best fit for your CE needs.

  1. Accreditation:  Has your regulating board approved the provider or the provider’s courses? There are strict rules and regulations that must be adhered to and a good provider will be transparent in disclosing their accreditation. It’s also a smart idea to check with your national and state regulating bodies. Websites like will generally list all approved continuing education providers.
  2. Reputable Instructors: When you’ve located a provider and checked out some of their courses, do a quick online search on the instructors. Make sure they are licensed healthcare professionals, experienced educators or individuals with the appropriate credentials/specialized training in their field of instruction.
  3. Large and Varied Course Selection: Advances in medicine and documentation require that the practitioner must continually update their knowledge base. Continuing education providers should be doing the same thing. Look for one that is adding new courses to their catalog on a regular basis. Does their course catalog cover a wide spectrum of subjects that will not only keep you current but also enhance you professionally?  Providers can and should offer a large selection of informative and engaging courses.
  4. Understanding of Your Needs: When you’re shopping for continuing education courses you should feel confident that the provider understands your needs and requirements. Any provider worth their salt will be able to help you understand the rules and regulations that govern your profession.
  5. Production Quality: Simply having good content isn’t enough; it should be presented in a professional format, with clean visual components and clear audio. It’s no good spending money on a video course that is blurry and hard to hear or fails to even provide any visual demonstrations. It should be easy to access, too. A few clicks of your mouse button are all it should take to get to your material. You can check the provider’s website for screenshots or video samples of their courses to evaluate the value they place on production quality.
  6. Cost: It’s always nice to save money, but be wary of the provider with ridiculously low prices. That usually means that corners have been cut, never a good thing.  Prices should be reasonable based on the amount of content provided in the course, and the production quality of the course. Some providers will offer options to combine courses together at a lower cost than buying them individually. One that offers flexibility to buy exactly what you need to meet your requirements and takes your budget into consideration can be a lifesaver, especially if you’ve left those requirements to the last minute!

It’s always smart to do your research before you commit to a continuing education course,as for the SLP or audiology professional the fallout from a bad choice can create extra stress and unwanted complications in your life. Following these few simple tips can help you make the decisions when it comes to choosing an online continuing education provider.


Amy-lynn Engelbrecht is the Online Content Specialist at is an ASHA Approved CE Provider, provides online continuing education courses that are convenient, affordable and user friendly. provides that offer ASHA CEUs for Speech-Language Pathologists, Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, Occupational Therapists, Occupational Therapist Assistants, Athletic Trainers, Massage Therapists, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists.


Call for 2012 ASHA Convention Bloggers!


ASHA is looking for three bloggers to cover the 2012 ASHA Convention for ASHAsphere. If you’re interested in attending the 2012 ASHA Convention, November 15-17 in Atlanta, GA, and willing and able to blog about your experience before, during, and after the event, this could be your chance to win free registration. Selected bloggers will receive complimentary base registration, but will be responsible for their own travel costs and expenses.

If you’re interested in applying to be a 2012 Convention blogger, please fill out and submit the application by Friday, August 10. Three selected bloggers will be notified by Friday, August 24.

Maggie McGary is the online community & social media manager at ASHA, and manages ASHAsphere.

Take a Speech Vacation

Summer vacation 2011 friends and family

Photo by kevin dooley

Everyone’s in the midst of planning summer vacations, signing up for camps and stocking up on popsicles and sunscreen.

May I make a recommendation? Take a break, maybe even a big break, from therapy at some point this summer.

Odd advice coming from a therapist? Perhaps. But I’m a parent too. Certainly consult your own provider(s), but let me list here five very important reasons you should take 5 this summer.

  1. Get perspective: There’s nothing like uninterrupted time together to realize, “Hey, this is so much easier than last year”, or “Wow, the waitress understood her order!” or “He can put on his Velcro sandals himself now.” It’s hard to see growth when you’re staring at it all day. Sit back and bask in the accomplishments no matter what the size.
  2. Re-evaluate goals: Therapists have great ideas for achieving the chronology of development, but they don’t live your life. Maybe it’s 3:00pm, he’s tired and fussy. You know he needs the peach smoothie in the blue cup before nap because you’ve been running this script for years. So maybe you aren’t so vested in a verbal request for “drink,” “smoothie,” or “nigh-nigh” (especially if you’re on the brink of the only quiet 30 min. you’ll get in your day). But getting him to say “Mimi” on the phone to your mom, which would make her year, even if he did it without communicative intent? It’s ok to prioritize this way. Figure out what you care about.
  3. Decrease mileage: Gas is expensive and the emissions are bad for the environment—so go green. Even more importantly, lose all that time spent commuting to appointments and sitting in waiting rooms. Use it on playing and living.
  4. Integrate lessons: A skill learned in therapy is useless if you can’t achieve it in your everyday life. The connections your child is making when they ask you for “more” on the playground swings? And then uses it again on the slide? That’s mastery. Practice carry-over.
  5. Build confidence: Both you and your child need to realize that it’s not the professionals getting you through the day—it’s you. Scary, I know, to think “the buck stops here?” You’re doing better than you think. Get assertive. “The buck stops here.”

Now….send us a postcard.

(This post originally appeared on Activity Tailor.)


Kim Lewis M.Ed, CCC-SLP has a private practice for pediatrics in Greensboro, NC. She is the blogger at, providing creative ideas for speech therapy, and the author of the Artic Attack workbook series.