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. 

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. 

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.