A New Song

At the 2012 ASHA Convention in Atlanta I wondered at the unique set of peoples I encountered. Everyone was eager to join sessions, share ideas, and offer words of encouragement to the newbies like me. There wasn’t a hint of selfishness of information; what helps one professional has the possibility to help thousands more when shared. The amount of evidence displayed and excellence of clinical translation encouraged everyone who attended. Since this was my first convention, I was astounded at the amount of work others from around the country are doing to advance the science and techniques of the profession…and I thought I was busy?!

In Dr. Maya Angelou’s key note address, she said “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” We all have a song to sing in the form of our profession. We perform our job based on evidence and training; yet it is more than that. There is a calling to help each patient, caregiver, and family, not out of a sense of duty; rather, from a sense of purpose and resolve to impact and further another person’s recovery and development.

Where is all the evidence going once it is presented in sessions or posters? When a presenter outlined an idea to change an approach based on new evidence, did you feel compelled to consider it? While I have yet to fully work as an SLP, I’m developing an idea of how easy it is to become complacent in “what works.” The theme for the convention “Evidence of Excellence” hinged on the idea that evidence drives our excellence as professionals.  Merely hearing the song of others’ research and results doesn’t seem like enough. Application and translation of research is what the ASHA Conventions are all about, no matter the theme. A time to gather as a profession and hear what is being done to improve and propel us all. I don’t want to sing the same song for the rest of my professional and personal life; I’m hoping I’m open enough to grow and develop along with our profession. Are you?

The 2013 ASHA Convention will be in Chicago, Illinois. I plan to attend in order to let my song be heard. Will you? Whatever the theme may be, you can rest assured the people met and sessions attended will give you a new song to sing with even greater enthusiasm and excitement. See you there!!

(Katie is one of the official ASHA Convention bloggers. These three bloggers were selected to blog about the ASHA Convention in exchange for complimentary registration. Stay tuned for more insights from her and the other bloggers before, during and after convention.)

 

Katie Millican, B.S. Ed., is a second year graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of West Georgia (UWG). Katie is the current UWG local NSSLHA chapter President.  She is active with the #slpeeps and #slp2b on Twitter (@SLP_Echo) and on Pinterest, and she writes her own blog SLP_Echo: Just another SLP in the Making. Katie has a passion for using technology and sharing evidence-based ideas. 

Autism: Three-Word Phrases to Supported Conversations in 18 Months

WebRTC conversations

Photo by Tsahi Levent-Levi

Just settling back in from the whirlwind trip to Atlanta, Georgia.  ASHA, once again surpassed itself in excellence.  My kitchen table is a mass of brochures, notes and folders; re-organized into priority piles.  The exhibit hall was replete with samples and gadgets.  Now, what to do with that little planter of wheat grass?  Yes, I live in northern California; one would think I’d blend that stuff right up in my morning “green drink,” but I think I’ll find another home for it instead.

And, reaching in my zipper-top ASHA bag, there’s more: a pink flamingo clip, a recycled “use your own” grocery bag, a pamphlet on social networking, plenty of memories.  Notwithstanding the seminars and short courses which offered a mountain of new information.

I contributed “my rock” of new information this year, too.  I had the honor of presenting a case study of an Autistic teen’s language development over an 18 month period.  Presenting at ASHA is not new to me, but each time it confirms the fact that we, “ in the trenches” daily clinicians, as opposed to university researchers,  have much to offer our colleagues.

ASHA is interested in what we are doing out in the field.  Small treatment programs and case studies contribute as much as research coming out of the more prominent universities.  ASHA is interested not so much whether a given treatment “worked” (as that word is nebulous in itself) but what did it change? And, how did it change?

So, this case study was a sequential presentation of video clips demonstrating an 18 year-old autistic male’s changes in sentence structure, vocabulary and vocal prosody as he learned from video feedback and the use of a speech generating device. The changes over time have been dramatic and offer us windows into understanding how communication skills can change via use of technology.

Treatment is evidence-based, as I took the best available research about children with autism and video monitoring and then applied my clinical best-practice knowledge, along with his values and interests. Computers enthralled him and Disney is his favorite subject!  His comments confirm this.

Combining the use of point-of-view virtual feedback, audio and video self-editing, self-modeling, repetition and practice speaking with a monitor rather than a person, we witnessed movement starting with our teen bolting perseverative repetitive words and phrases across to phases of dependence on written scripts or memorized lines through his success with short supported conversations.

The videos showed a continuum of his vocal changes and the sweet exploration of facial expressions related to his intentions of message delivery. We also watched his ever-growing vocabulary, including the use of temporal and spatial relationships.

Seminar attendees fell in love with this charming young man as they learned how he mastered the use of a speech generating device, including developing his own customized digital icon library as well as video editing and review. They learned how he independently wrote and recorded his own comments and attached them to his personal photos, all in an effort to share the events in his life.

Current Technology

This case study offered a readily-attainable speech and language treatment utilizing a speech generating device for delivering supported and self-study techniques.  The Lingraphica speech generating device (SGD)  offers immediate video feedback, a built-in icon library w/customizing capacity and ease of navigation which can promote patient self-use within this particular population.

Besides considering the use of a *Lingraphica SGD (utilized in the study), one might be creative and use a tablet, a laptop with a video camera, or an app which would lenditself to video modeling techniques.  The course demonstrated how existing research and the availability of developing standardized communication models for independent practice outside of the therapy environment, can substantiate a treatment model of cost efficiency.  The new formula of  “treatment / cost = value” is alive and well with this treatment model, which focuses on extensive independent study. 

Did you miss the session?  You may still be able to download the handout which gives an overview and bibliography.  I have been using some of the same techniques with my other patients and keeping close track of their changes.  Stay tuned; we may see significant outcomes with other populations as well.

I am in the process of developing an online CEU course which you could download with these wonderful video-clips.  So, to whet your appetite for more; here are two clips from the course.  First, a baseline and then a delightful supported conversation Talking about what?  Disney, of course.  Enjoy the videos.

 

*Disclaimer:  I have no fiduciary relationship with either Lingraphicare or Disney Productions.

 

Nancy Horowitz Moilanen, M.A. CCC-SLP; Private practice, Northern CA, 35 yrs.;  Director, Well Together Neuro Rehabtm, a group therapy program utilizing music and community-building as a rehab model;  Presenter ASHA, 2010 & 2012;  ASHAsphere Blogger, Communication Wellbeing and Social Wellbeing…an Aspect of Health, January 2011, Graduate ASHA Leadership in Health program, 2011; ASHA Leadership in Health program graduate presenter, 2012. A proud member of SLPeeps, Facebook’s social networking site.

 

 

Happy Peppy People at ASHA 2012

2012 ASHA Convention logo

“Hello friends. Are you tired, run-down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Why don’t you join the thousands of happy peppy people…” at the 2012 ASHA Convention.  If this famous I Love Lucy script makes you think your convention experience thus far, then you are not alone.  Between walking from the Exhibit Hall to visit the vendors to checking out the NSSLHA Lounge and Poster Presentations, just navigating the convention can wear a person out.

Despite the many weary feet, the excitement from day 1 has been tangible. Waiting in line for coffee, finding the room number for sessions, or collecting your third Super Duper bag,  you can always find someone to share a conversation with. How often do you know everyone around you is an SLP or AUD, and feel comfortable discussing a therapy technique or a new iPad application while waiting in line?  The convention provides professionals from across the country opportunities to reconnect with colleagues and friends, refine intervention strategies and techniques, and renew the excitement and zeal for being “rainbows in the clouds” of our clients.

As a student, not only is attending sessions part of the allure of attending the convention, but meeting and networking with professionals who have knowledge and experience to share has been invaluable. Everyone I have met and shared a conversation with has been more than willing to relay tips for my SLP-CF job search or strategies for interviewing and negotiating a contract. I still get nervous before speaking with SLPs or AUDs, but I hope those I speak with remember what it felt like to be a student: Excited, nervous, stressed, overwhelmed, and just itching to finish our clinical internships. The convention is a chance for everyone to “nerd out” with other SLP students, professionals, professors, and researchers from across the world; it is like Christmas morning for me.

What was my favorite part of the 2012 ASHA Convention?

One of the highlights for me was meeting the SLPs, AUDs, and other student SLPs that I have met through Twitter over the past year. Many people are still apprehensive or unaware of the professional learning opportunities that wait by using Twitter with the #SLPeeps. Heidi Kay over at Pediastaff recruited some of the best SLPs who use social media as professional tools to create a Free Guidebook to help people get started. If you want to see how to use these tools, please check out the  easy to follow electronic book and start growing professionally with the #SLPeeps.

Another one of the highlights from the convention was hearing Dr. Maya Angelou speak at the opening session. Her powerful storytelling inspired me professionally and personally. She compared SLPs and AUDs to rainbows in the clouds. A rainbow speaks of promise and hope; I would like to think I can be that for my clients.  Her personal tale of selective mutism after a childhood trauma empowered me to always consider the perspective of my clients before jumping to conclusions.  She always had a story to tell; as Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, accepting and establishing trust can impact how much of their story a client decides to share.

(Katie is one of the official ASHA Convention bloggers. These three bloggers were selected to blog about the ASHA Convention in exchange for complimentary registration. Stay tuned for more insights from her and the other bloggers before, during and after convention.)

 

Katie Millican, B.S. Ed., is a second year graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of West Georgia (UWG). Katie is the current UWG local NSSLHA chapter President.  She is active with the #slpeeps and #slp2b on Twitter (@SLP_Echo) and on Pinterest, and she writes her own blog SLP_Echo: Just another SLP in the Making. Katie has a passion for using technology and sharing evidence-based ideas. 

Convention Must-Have: Twitter

I was really excited when I was selected to become an official ASHA blogger.  I blog anyway, so it was nice to get an official title.  I had planned on blogging a little everyday, but things have been crazy and before I know it, it’s time for bed.  I decided to go ahead and blog on Friday, the next to last day of the convention!

Throughout convention I kept hearing “how do you incorporate Twitter into therapy?” or “so how do you use Twitter?”  It seems there is either a lot of resistance to Twitter or people just really have no idea how to use it or how to get started.

Originally, I intended to write about my trip here, the sessions I attended, etc., but I think I’ll save that for later and instead write about Twitter.

I started my Twitter account about two or three years ago, around the time of my first ASHA Convention.  As much as I enjoyed the convention, I really didn’t socialize a lot or leave my hotel room other than to go  to sessions.   Through that convention, I started getting more involved in Twitter and started forming friendships there.

The 2011 convention was so much better having such a large group of friends to spend time with and share my ASHA Convention excitement.

This year has been a whole new experience.  I have a much larger group of friends, a really great roommate and amazing opportunities coming my way, all thanks to Twitter.   We had a great “Tweet up” this year with many new and familiar faces.  It’s always so nice to meet those people you’ve been talking to online.

How do I use Twitter?  I use it in so many different ways.   I ask and answer therapy questions through Twitter.  We have a whole network of SLPs called the #SLPeeps.  We have specialty people in various areas: literacy, fluency, technology, apps  and dysphagia.

I use Twitter to announce changes to my website, new blog posts, exciting news like earning my BRS-S, and to share links to videos or websites that I find relevant or interesting. I use it to share important information at ASHA from professional development sessions that I attend, or CEU events that I attend outside of ASHA.  If I find a really great session, I share that.  If I find a new product, I’m excited to talk about it and let others know.

So many people say they don’t have time for Twitter.  I can access Twitter on my phone and on my iPad, allowing me to post a Tweet any time of day.  I can post on Twitter in just a few minutes.  It’s really only as time-consuming as I allow it to be.

When I talk to people about Twitter, I tell them that’s it’s an excellent learning opportunity for me and a way that I have met many new friends that I may not have otherwise met.    I proudly wear my “I Tweet” and “#SLPeeps” ribbons on my badge and tell everyone who asks me about Twitter that it has been one of the most life-changing opportunities I have experienced.

(Tiffani is one of the official ASHA Convention bloggers. These three bloggers were selected to blog about the ASHA Convention in exchange for complimentary registration. Stay tuned for more insights from her and the other bloggers before, during and after convention.)

 

Tiffani Wallace,CCC-SLP, has been an SLP specializing in Dysphagia for over 11 years.  Tiffani has been very active in the social media world, creating 2 Facebook groups, Dysphagia Therapy Group and Dysphagia Therapy Group-Professional Edition.  Tiffani is also the co-author of the app Dysphagia2Go, available on iTunes.  She is preparing to travel nationally and speak on the topic of Dysphagia.  Tiffani writes a blog called Dysphagia Ramblings and is the author of www.dysphagiaramblings.com.  She is a 5 time ACE awardee and recently obtained her BRS-S.

Election Year, Taxes and the HES CSD Education Survey

Tax Day

Photo by MoneyBlogNewz

This has been an election year and one could not help but hear the debate over taxes. As I listen, it occurs to me that there are some interesting parallels between taxes and the Higher Education System (HES) CSD Education Survey.

This may seem like an odd comparison but think about the following:

  • Tax time comes around the same time every year, April.  The HES CSD Education Survey opens every September (although slightly delayed this year because of enhancements including pre-population of certain data).
  • The government “collects” money. ASHA and CAPCSD “collect” data on CSD undergraduate through PhD education.
  • The government uses the money for defense, public works, schools, Medicaid, etc. ASHA and CAPCSD use the data to showcase academic programs in EDFIND, an online search engine, as well as publish national aggregate and state aggregate reports on undergraduate through PhD education in CSD. The data, in turn, is used to inform the personnel pipeline, assess potential academic capacity building, gauge student diversity plus much more!
  • Taxes are a source of debate. Differences of opinion abound. The challenge is how much tax to collect and how to use it. Well, so too, ASHA, CAPCSD, faculty and other stakeholders grapple with which questions to ask and strive to ask the lowest number of questions that will provide the greatest value and benefit for the discipline.

Emotions about taxes and the CSD Education Survey are somewhat analogous:

  • First, there is an initial sense of hesitation about the magnitude of the task. Academic programs must gather their data on applications, admissions, enrollment, graduation, first employment and more for all CSD degree programs offered at the institution. Likewise, tax payers must gather up a year’s worth of receipts and forms before sitting down in front of Turbo Tax or sending it all off to the CPA.
  • Once the initial feeling has passed, acceptance prevails.  We recognize taxes are necessary for the common good. So too, faculty recognize the need to inform the pipeline of the professions and advocate on its behalf. Getting the academic program profile in EDFIND is a plus too.
  • Once tax forms are completed and documents and checks signed, a sense of relief and triumph takes over.   For the CSD Education Survey, the final review of the data by the program director or chair and the subsequent click of the submission button also provide a feeling of accomplishment.   Edfind will showcase the program’s academic profile and related information and the academic program’s data will be part of the National Aggregate and State aggregate reports, thus contributing to greater efforts in support of the professions.

Collection mechanisms are complex and require systems that mitigate burden.  Imagine trying to collect money from millions and millions of U.S citizens and residents and organizations?  While ASHA’s and CAPCSD’s data collection endeavors are not of the same magnitude, they are, nonetheless, challenging and require the collaboration of many stakeholders.  The CSD Education Survey goes out to 300 institutions with multiple undergraduate through PhD programs in audiology, speech language pathology and speech language and hearing sciences. This translates into 700 plus degree programs for which data is compiled!  As a result, ASHA and CAPCSD are forever striving to streamline the process.  Academic programs now use a convenient and easy-to-use platform to report data  To that end, ASHA and CAPCSD employ some similar tools used by the IRS:

  • The IRS has a Website with instructions and forms; ASHA has a website with instructions and forms too.
  • Tax payers use nifty electronic platforms that allow for online submission and payment. The HES is housed on a platform that allows for online submission of data.
  • The IRS has an email and phone numbers for folks with questions.  ASHA has an HES Manager who answers questions too; simply email hes@asha.org.
  • In both cases, finishing early has its rewards.  Early refunds for the taxpayer or the satisfaction of completing the task as part of one’s civic duty.  For academic programs, completing and submitting their HES CSD Education Survey results in immediate update of their CSD program’s profile in EDFIND. The satisfaction of knowing the data is part of the larger aggregate national and state reports should not be overlooked.

Let’s face it, taxes are necessary. We all benefit from roads, schools, healthcare etc… The CSD Education Survey is also necessary and valuable. Without it, there would be no coordinated mechanism for systematically collecting CSD education data and there would be no data reports to inform the personnel pipeline.   For the past two years the CSD Education Survey completion and submission rate has been over 80%.  This leads to robust data for use by all. Additional benefits of having the national aggregate and state  data reports include their use in strategic planning, grant proposals, federal and state advocacy,  first employment trends, and  data based decisions for the professions.

The CSD Education Survey is currently open and will close December 17th.

 

Silvia Quevedo, Associate Director, Academic Affairs and Research Education at ASHA, can be reached at squevedo@asha.org.