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.

 

Pre-ASHA Convention Blog Roundup

2012 ASHA Convention logo

At long last, the 2012 ASHA Convention is upon us! If you’re either already in Atlanta or heading there, here are some links to helpful posts by fellow attendees, both past and present:

  • Tara Roehl gives instructions on how to create your convention schedule using Google Docs.
  • Aubrey Klingensmith has reated an “#ASHA12 Survival Guide” of apps that might come in handy during Convention.
  • Ruth Morgan has scoped out Atlanta for gluten-free options and offers some great suggestions for those who can’t just grab a quick bagel or a muffin during Convention.
  • While Kristin Mosman unfortunately won’t be attending this year, she has compiled a great list of things she wishes she’d known before attending past ASHA Conventions.
  • Ready to finally bite the bullet and learn what all this social media stuff is about, but not sure where to start? Lucky for you there will be many resources at Convention to help. There is an invited session on Thursday at 10:30 am (Session #1003) “A How-To of Social Media: Technologies, Trends and Traps.” I will be attending Convention from Thursday through Saturday and happy to help give hands-on help with the ASHA Community and/or any other social media question you may have. I’ll be splitting my time between the Volunteer Village, the exhibit hall and various events including the ASHA Tweetup on Friday at 5 pm in the Leader Lounge. Finally, the #slpeeps and #audpeeps have paired up with Pediastaff and will be offering many different social media resources including a learning lab, a social media learning center, and several “Tweet & Greet” sessions.

If you aren’t attending this year’s convention, stay tuned to ASHAsphere for updates from the official ASHAsphere Convention bloggers, as well as follow-up posts from other attendees. You can also watch from afar on Twitter by following @ASHAconv and the #asha12 hashtag. And you don’t have to suffer alone–there’s even a hashtag for those who aren’t able to be at Convention: #ashaless!

 

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

Southern Charm at #ASHA12

Image of an owl

Where the food is fried and the tea is sweet, Atlanta promises to be a great host for the 2012 ASHA Convention. It’s only appropriate that my first-ever ASHA Convention is in my home state. I’ve been living in a Graduate School cocoon for the past year, so it will be fun to take off my speechie training wheels and revel in the knowledge and fun. I have been reading and listening to the #ASHA12 hype on Twitter and blogs, which makes me even more excited for the three-day event. I keep finding sessions I want to attend, like the First Timers Orientation, the pre-convention session “The iPad & Your Therapy: Apps, Accessories, Accessibility, & Features,” or “Laryngeal Manipulation: Why, When, & How.” Then there are the vendors I don’t want to miss like Pediastaff (Booth #1823), LessonPix (Booth #617), and Tactus Therapy (Booth #828). So many excellent sessions and vendors to choose from; how are you deciding which ones to attend?

The annual ASHA Convention seems like the best opportunity to learn the newest techniques, listen to what others have been doing, and determine the best way to not seem overly creepy with excitement for this profession. Since I am almost done with graduate school, everything seems to revolve around my enthusiasm for our diverse profession. I’m just trying to take advantage of all these amazing sessions and vendors in one place without overwhelming myself. How are you keeping it all straight? I’ve received the most support from the #slpeeps on Twitter. Based on their stories and advice, I think I can control myself enough to attend sessions and still have equal amounts of fun.

I’m also looking forward to dining around the Georgia World Congress Center. There are so many great places to choose from like Googie Burger, Taco Mac, Der Biergarten, Park Avenue  Deli & Market, and so many others right around the convention center. If you are new to the Atlanta area and plan to leave time to venture further out, consider The Varsity, Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery, The Vortex, or Ormsby’s. Wherever you choose, I hope you enjoy the beautiful city of Atlanta.

I would also like to take a moment to impart some southern charm upon the excitement of #asha12. Especially to those who have also never been, or to those may not be as excited as they’ve been in previous years:

  • To all of the seasoned, flavorful, and spicy SLPs, I look forward to meeting you at the convention. I will giving away handshakes if you can find me (@SLP_Echo) during the convention (Get ‘em while they’re hot)
  • To my fellow SLP graduate and undergraduate friends, let us convene upon Atlanta with our eagerness to learn and willingness to volunteer for anything.
  • To my fellow #slpeeps, may we entice new SLPs to join the Twitterverse.
  • To those who slaved over a poster presentation, oral session, technical session, or any other session, may those who attend the sessions bring enough enthusiasm it’s worth every minute.
  • To those attending the Wednesday workshops by GSHA , may the extra day in Atlanta make you want to eat peaches and  drink Coca-Cola till you have a southern accent.
  • To those who are dancing in the flash mob (aka #ashamob), may people appreciate the happiness it brings as well as the eloquence of the ‘booty roll’.
  • To the adventurous #asha12 attendee, may you fill up on southern comfort food and fall prey to using “Ya’ll” at least once while you are here.

Keep track of all the happenings before, during, and after the convention on Twitter and ASHAsphere. Wait, what’s that? You don’t use Twitter?? Well, don’t be shy; join the ranks and check out how to get started here.  Can’t wait to see everyone at the 2012 ASHA Convention in Atlanta, GA!!

(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. 

 

#ASHA12 Infographic

If you’re following the 2012 ASHA Convention hashtag #ASHA12 on Twitter, you know that the excitement has reached a fever pitch with just one week to go. Here, in infographic form, are some tips to help you navigate Convention.

For more detail on how to customize your own planner as I mention in tip 1 above, here’s another post detailing how I did it.

(Jeremy 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 him and the other bloggers before, during and after convention.)

 

Jeremy Legaspi, CCC-SLP, is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Foundations Developmental House. He concentrates on autism, AAC, apraxia, articulation,phonlogy, and some feeding. You can follow him on twitter @azspeechguy and check him out on azspeechguy.wordpress.com and www.therapyapp411.com

What Do Impact Craters Have to Do with Speech-Language Pathology?

As a speech-language pathologist, one of the questions I am asked most often by concerned parents of late talkers is, “How do I know if my child will be okay?” or “Will they catch up?” Though we don’t have crystal balls that foretell the future, we do possess the knowledge of potential red flags or areas to consider when determining whether parents have legitimate concerns that should be investigated further or if more time and quality language exposure may be sufficient remedy.

As I’ve sought ways to effectively communicate to parents what to look for, I’ve coined a term or acronym that helps parents think through five different areas of language development that give us valuable clues. The acronym is W.I.P.U.L., pronounced “whipple” as the name of a lunar impact crater. I utilize the mental picture of an impact crater (a depression on the surface of a solid body formed by impact of a smaller body with the surface) when thinking of a “depression” in language skills that may not be indicative of a true language delay or disorder. If you’re looking for a simple way to walk parents through these five areas, feel free to utilize my visual for WIPUL. Below is a summary of how I present this to parents.

Words - Use of Words More Than Gestures

Here I discuss how gestures and body language are effective communication tools early on, but eventually words become more effective for communication, and therefore, normally-developing children tend to rely on words more than gestures as they mature and develop.

IntentCommunicative Intent or Desire to Communicate is Present

Here I explain that even when all the words are not there for expression, seeing a child’s desire and attempts to engage in communicative interactions, including eye contact for example, is a good sign. Red flags go up when children remain isolated or disinterested in communicative interactions with those in their environment.

PlayAppropriate Play Skills

Here I walk parents through normal stages of play, from solitary play to parallel play, from associative play to cooperative play, where children go from playing alone as they explore their environments to playing side by side without much social interaction to playing together with structure, cooperation and shared goals. I also speak of the important skills of pretending and symbolic play, as children demonstrate a clear understanding of objects, their use, as well as appropriate associations and representations during play interactions.

Understanding - Good Understanding of Vocabulary and Language

Here I discuss how some children may have smaller vocabularies, may not be combining words, or may have disorganized language structure, which all create communication barriers. If these children, however, show a good understanding of the vocabulary and language around them, being able to follow commands, to respond appropriately, and to clearly show understanding of the vocabulary/language in relation to objects, toys, foods and people in their environment, then less concern is warranted.

Learning - Readily Learning New Words and Concepts on a Daily/Weekly Basis

Lastly, I assure parents that if their children show they are learning new words and concepts on a regular basis, even if not at the same pace as their peers, that steady growth is a positive sign. I also explain we look not only for concrete words for persons, places, and things (nouns) but also for action words (verbs) and more descriptive words such as in/on/off (location), hot/cold (feature), big/small (size), one/all (quantity), fruit (class) and so on.

I must note that for multicultural families, this conversation may be somewhat different since some cultural norms dictate different behaviors and expectations of children as well as different interaction styles between adults and children.

As parents utilize this acronym to analyze their children’s communicative development, it facilitates their understanding of their child’s current status and assists them in the decision-making process in terms of if and when to seek a professional for a comprehensive speech-language evaluation.

 

Ana Paula G. Mumy, MS, CCC-SLP,  is a trilingual speech-language pathologist and the author of various continuing education eCourses, leveled storybooks, and instructional therapy materials for speech/language intervention, as well as the co-author of her latest eSongbook which features songs for speech, language and hearing goals.  She has provided school-based and pediatric home health care services for nearly 12 years and thoroughly enjoys providing resources for SLPs, educators and parents on her website The Speech Stop.

The ASHA Community Turns One!

Cupcake and candle

Photo by amylovesyah

It was one year ago this month that we launched the ASHA Community, our online directory and professional network. In the past year

We want to take a moment to thank all of the members who have made the ASHA Community a success!

In August, we started a monthly Community Spotlight on the ASHA Community homepage to recognize some of the individual contributors who have been especially generous in helping answer questions and share their knowledge.We asked each contributor why she participates in the ASHA Community. Here are the answers they gave:

I participate in the ASHA Community because it is a wonderful opportunity to glean from other professionals, respectfully exchange ideas, encourage others, and be encouraged. This is absolutely vital to my growth as a speech pathologist and business owner.”

Pamela RowePamela Rowe, MA, CCC-SLP
Clinical Director
Pamela Rowe, MA, CCC-SLP, LLC
Longwood, FL

When I received my master’s in 1977, a wise professor told us the most important thing we learned in grad school was the value of learning, reflective thinking, and asking questions. I have always had a commitment to learn something new every day and to ask questions that make me a more critical thinker. The ASHA Community provides a wonderful way to share information, learn from others, problem-solve patients and professional issues.”

Catherine ShakerCatherine Shaker, MS, CCC-SLP
Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist
Florida Hospital for Children
Orlando, FL

Communicating with and sharing ideas with colleagues is a great way of giving back to my profession. My graduate school mentors set the example as we traveled with them to conferences and sat in during their tenure on committees and boards. I have served on state and national committees and boards and, after more than 50 years in this profession, I still find myself interested in continued participation and energized by ongoing discussion on many varied topics. The ASHA community allows for participation on many levels with colleagues in many different work environments and many different patient/client populations, and I consider these communications a form of continuing education. It is vital that we share our expertise and ideas; the future of our professions is well served by ongoing communication.”

Roberta AungstRoberta Aungst, MS, CCC-A
ASHA Fellow
Atlantic County, NJ

Get Started

If you haven’t had a chance to try using the ASHA Community, it’s easy to get involved. We recommend you follow these steps to get started:

  1. Complete your profile. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can easily import the information!
  2. Customize your privacy settings, including your contact preferences.
  3. Subscribe to ASHA Discussion Groups, customize how you’d like to receive updates, and start posting comments.
  4. Browse or post content to the community library—including documents, videos, and audio files.
  5. Find an ASHA Community Member to connect with using our online member directory.

If you have any questions or need any help, post a comment below.

Tom Jelen is the Director of Online Communications for ASHA.