#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

11 Tips for the 2012 ASHA Convention

I am officially excited about ASHA 12. (Not that I haven’t been since last year in San Diego). I hope to meet many of my readers, Facebook and Twitter friends at ASHA in Atlanta this year. I figured it’s that time of year that I should post a little bit about my recommendations in preparation for ASHA.

  1. If you don’t already have one, create a Twitter and Facebook account. Join SLP groups and on Twitter, find the #Slpeeps. I am @apujo5 on Twitter. Benefits of social networking for the ASHA convention? You get all the heads-up on the behind-the-scenes info. You meet great new friends so that you don’t have to be at the conference alone. You can also find someone to share a room and save a little money. There is a “tweet-up” on Friday at 5 pm in the Leader Lounge where you can meet the people behind the Twitter handles. This year we are having a “pre-conference” dinner and there are several that met up last year staying in the same hotel.
  2. Pack comfortable clothes and shoes. Yes, as professionals we often dress nicely, but trust me, you will appreciate the Nikes and jeans. Last year I was away from my hotel room from 7 a.m. until about 11 p.m. I was EXHAUSTED and just missing my comfy clothes. You can learn new information whether you are in a dress or in a pair of jeans! (Besides, if this is your first convention, the exhibit hall is ENORMOUS!)
  3. Bring a backpack. I personally am not a huge fan of the infamous Super Duper bags. Not only do they stink, they are not all that comfortable to haul around. There are so many freebies at ASHA, you definitely need something supportive to carry your stuff. If your backpack is big enough, you can stuff a Super Duper bag into it.
  4. Bring your phone, tablet and your charging cords. No matter how great your battery is, you will more than likely need to charge it at some point during the day. Especially if you are one of those #Slpeeps who tweet throughout the entire convention. There are also chargers you can bring for your phone that you don’t have to plug in during a session. Last year I purchased the iGo Green charger. You plug it in to charge overnight and can use it to charge up to two devices while it’s charging. While you’re sitting in a course, you can plug in your phone (doesn’t have to be an iPhone) and charge it from anywhere in a room. No mad dash for a seat close to an outlet needed. Also, by bringing a tablet, you eliminate the need to haul around pens and notebooks.
  5. The scheduler for ASHA is finally up! So many people are so overwhelmed by the seeming millions of available sessions to attend. I am a very visual person, so I have to do everything a little different for scheduling. I have to make my own calendar, then highlight all the sessions I want to attend and put the session number on the calendar. I then narrow my sessions down to two per time slot. Be sure you select some alternate courses as there are times you get to the convention and some of the courses/posters have been cancelled.
  6. It’s never too early to start packing. The more you plan what you need to take, the more prepared you will be! I personally do much better if I pack early because I will inevitably remember things I need to take later on. Also, the more room you can make in your bag the better. (Remember, the exhibit hall is ENORMOUS and full of wonderful FREE items. You can also purchase many items at a discounted rate!)
  7. Make sure you sign up for all the freebies. The opening party, awards ceremony and closing party are actually a lot of fun. Better yet, they’re also free! You are already spending all that money on registration anyway. The conference also offers a box lunch for a small price (I think $7 a day). It really beats having to fight crowds at restaurants and all the waiting (giving you more time at the exhibit hall). The boxed lunches are pretty decent and quite affordable.
  8. Prepare to have FUN. The ASHA convention is a blast. It takes forever for it to come around every year, but once it starts, the time flies. There is so much to do and so many people to meet. Prepare for one of the greatest  convention experiences of your life!
  9. Don’t forget, leave some time for socializing and the exhibit hall. You won’t regret it. There is an enormous amount of knowledge to learn from all the exhibitors. (Did I mention that many give away free items?)
  10. If you really can’t find a session you want to attend during a certain time period, you can always do poster sessions. Remember you can do six posters for every 90 minute time slot!
  11. Also, I have found the greatest app. If you are attending ASHA with friends, and split up, download Voxer. It turns your phone into a walkietalkie and is available for both the iPhone and Android phones.

For first-timers, the ASHA convention can be very overwhelming, but in the end is definitely worth the exhaustion!

(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 two 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 five time ACE awardee and recently obtained her BRS-S.

It Really is a “Brave New World” for Speech-Language Pathology!

In 1931, Aldous Huxley’s novel A Brave New World told us a tale of what society in the distant future would look like… a place of advanced technology, new social structures and radical changes in how humanity interacts with each other… sound familiar?

Well, arranging the Georgia Speech-Language Hearing Association’s (GSHA) short course offerings has opened my eyes to how very fast the role of being an SLP is changing from year to year. We are now serving highly diverse populations of multiple nationalities, utilizing technology that just 10 years ago was science fiction and becoming more and more an integrated part of the healthcare community in general. From NICU to hospice, home health care to the public schools, SLPs are involved with communication and swallowing disorders across the lifespan. We are providing these services in a cost effective, evidence based manner that is making real and measurable change in the populations we serve.

It is with this “Brave New World” in mind, that GSHA would like to present to our fellow convention-goers three short course opportunities that are sure to make a positive impact on the clients, patients and students we all serve. ASHA has given the Georgia association the wonderful opportunity to provide ticketed pre-convention and convention related short courses on November 14th and 15th. Please join us on November 14th for-

Barbara Fernandes, M.S., CCC-SLP The iPad and Your Therapy – Apps, Accessories, Accessibility and Features

Jose Galarza, M.A., CCC-SLP Spanish Influenced English: What Every SLP Should Know

and on November 15th for-

Kate Krival, Ph. D. CCC-SLP Anticipation: Neural Bases and Clinical Implications in Swallowing in Adults

Our pre-convention activities on November 14th will include presentations from Barbara Fernandes, M.S, CCC-SLP and Jose Galarza, M.A. CCC-SLP. Barbara (better known as GeekSLP) will be presenting on all things Apple, Ipad and App related. Bring your Ipad and/or Iphone to her presentation and you will leave better understanding how to use it with your respective population. Jose’s presentation will address the needs of monolingual SLPs working with bilingual children in the school setting. Since school SLPs are increasingly faced with the communication needs of Hispanic children, his presentation is especially relevant to the English speaker attempting evaluation and treatment of those children. Barbara and Jose are both experts in their respective areas and will highly impact the attendee in a positive manner.

On November 15th, join GSHA in welcoming Kate Krival, Ph. D., CCC/SLP. Dr. Krival directs the Swallowing Research Lab at Kent State University and she is a Research Investigator in the Head and Neck Neural Interface Lab at Louis Stokes Veterans Administration Medical Center in Cleveland, OH. She is particularly interested in clinical research targeting sensory-based interventions for swallowing disorders in adults with neurogenic dysphagia. If dysphagia is your area of interest, Kate will leave you with tons of evidenced based ideas for use with your patients!

So, Join GSHA and ASHA in facing this Brave New World of ours with the confidence that these courses will keep you informed, up to date and ahead of the curve!!! See you in Atlanta…

 

Edgar V. (Vince) Clark, M. Ed., CCC/SLP, advocates for the importance of state association participation whenever possible. He is currently the GSHA to ASHA Liason for the 2012 convention, current GSHA CEU chair and is a past-president of GSHA. Professionally, he is interested in adult dysphagia, all things technology, and the use of social media for promoting the professions.

 

The ASHA Convention is quickly approaching! If you haven’t already registered, don’t delay–register today! Stay tuned to ASHAsphere in the weeks leading up to the ASHA Convention for posts by the official Convention bloggers–Jeremy LegaspiTiffani Wallace and Katie Millican. Not an official Convention blogger but want to write a post about it for ASHAsphere? No problem! Send posts to Maggie McGary at mmcgary@asha.org and it could be featured here.

Private Practice- Will You be a Survivor?

Money Money Money

Photo by Images_of_Money

“A recent survey by Accenture has shed light on the matter of shrinking numbers of medical private practices and has revealed that especially small private practices are on the decline. The survey also shows that individual practitioners are in declining at the rate of two percent annually and would decline by five percent annually by the year 2013.” (Excerpt from Private Practices Surviving Healthcare Reforms:  Revenue Management.)

The glamour associated with private practice is often shrouded in the gut-busting challenge of juggling business and clinical demands. Dealing with downward payment trends and increasing management of services resulting in the need for more clients.  What is the key to being a private practice survivor?

In a word: REVENUE.

Generating revenue is key to growing your business & managing it is equally essential!

What are four ways that practitioners need to focus on revenue generation?

  1. Identifying your target market
  2. Creating & sharing your brand message
  3. Leveraging your relationships
  4. Jumping into an integrated personal and social media marketing approach and grow your business

What are the five ways we can optimize revenue?

  1. Understand your  costs, pricing and contracting
  2. Identify the key practice metrics you will monitor
  3. Master coverage issues & opportunities
  4. Establish patient payment policies & parameters
  5. Create systems to insure proper billing, documentation & receivable management

You can be a survivor & thrive in the next phase of practice!

 

Interested in this topic? Lynn Steffes is presenting at ASHA Health Care/Business Institute 2012, taking place April 28-29 in Memphis, Tennessee. Visit the ASHA website for conference information and to register–early bird registration ends March 13 so don’t delay!

 

Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT is president/consultant of Steffes & Associates, a nationwide rehabilitation consulting service based in WI. Her areas of expertise include marketing and program development, customer service initiatives, managed care contracts and payer relations, and optimal reimbursement and documentation strategies. Steffes is a 1981 graduate of Northwestern University and completed her transitional DPT in December of 2010. In addition to her work as a consultant, she is a frequent speaker at national and state meetings. She is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and serves on the board of directors for the private practice section of APTA.

Quotable from ASHA Convention

 

view from San  Diego Marriott

Photo by Kim Lewis

My notebook is brimming with hastily scrawled notes and printed handouts.  I have presentations downloaded on my computer and a convention program loaded with descriptions of speech and language topics.

Much of my information relates to preschool or school aged children and a great deal of that pertains to reading issue (though I did dabble in other areas as well).  But I collected a few great quotes in San Diego.  Good reminders of what we do, how and why we do it.

“It’s not about the tool, it’s about the technique.” (session 1370)

This really resonated with me.  I love my iPad and I use it with regularity in my therapy sessions.  But I’ve heard numerous therapists say that parents have been pressing the device into their hands with the insistence that it be used to perform miracles.  Well, it’s pretty fabulous, I’ll agree, but it isn’t all that and as long as human beings remain social creatures there will always be a need for personal interaction.  So, yes, I will use technology but in therapy it will always be a tool I use and not the treatment itself.

“Availability, Affability, Ability and Accountability” (session 0416)

I attended a session on growing and maintaining a private practice that promoted these “Four As” as a basis.  The beauty of this though is that it really pertains to any therapist in any setting that strives for excellence in care.  Be fully present during treatment times and available to your clients and families.  Be friendly and easy to get along with.  Continue to further your learning and incorporate new ideas and research into practice.  Take responsibility for your actions (and document it while you’re at it).

“I can pick and choose which circuits I want to run.” (Opening session)

Each day we make conscious decision in our attitude.  Each day we have an opportunity to grow.  I imagine our brains as a dense forest.  We strike out and, with much effort, create a path.  And each day that we travel that path, the underbrush becomes more downtrodden, the space between the trees widens and the path becomes easier and more visible.  You make a decision each day where those strong paths run to.

“Enjoy the good life.” (San Diego Food and Wine Festival)

Ok, so this isn’t from the convention itself, but it was part of my ASHA experience.  And don’t we aim for this already?  Furthering our education, mingling with like-minded souls, helping others.  Absolutely, the good life.

enjoy the good life sign

Photo by Kim Lewis

(Kim is one of the official ASHA Convention bloggers! Stay tuned for more insights from her and the other bloggers before, during and after convention.)

 

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

 

 

Get involved! Why? Because I say so!

I’ve been struggling to write my last post about the 2011 ASHA Convention. What could I possibly have to say that would sum up my experience? Should I be funny? Light hearted? Should I try to send a message? Reach out?

ALL OF THE ABOVE?

That’s the one!

I discovered something about myself while I was at the ASHA Convention. I really like the administrative side of things. It’s been sneaking up on me – an interest in policies, positions, procedures, politics (whew – what an alliteration!) But there it is. Can’t be denied. I just really enjoy knowing what is going on, how it affects me, how it affects my clients – and you’d think this would be the case with everyone.

However, I discovered something else at ASHA as well – a sort of apathetic, passive, bystander effect among CSD professionals when it comes to legislative and regulatory issues. Obviously this isn’t necessarily the rule, and I truly hope it is the exception. But there seems to be this sense that issues which go outside of our clients and our place of business, go beyond us overall.

I attended a lecture entitled Advocacy 101: Add Your Voice, which was presented by ASHA’s Government Relations and Public Policy Board (Regina Grimmett and Shelley Victor.) The description was as follows:

  • This session is proposed by the Governmental Relations Public Policy Board (GRPP) to promote advocacy as related to legislative, regulatory, and other public policy activities affecting the professions. Presenters will explain strategies for self-advocacy, illustrate data use for advocating issues, and demonstrate strategies for meeting legislators/government officials.

After the lecture, learners would be able to:

  • describe their role in professional grassroots advocacy at the local, state, and/or national levels.
  • define advocacy–its goals, types, and benefits of grassroots advocacy efforts
  • advocate for specific federal and/or state issues that affect the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology.

To me, this sounds like pretty important stuff. At the undergraduate and graduate level we are taught that advocacy is within our scope and is our responsibility. Usually we think of that in terms of advocacy for our clients, but this was quite obviously in regards to US. We like our jobs, yes? We like funding and support, yes?

There were probably 15 people present at this lecture. 10,000+ attendees at the ASHA Convention. Fifteen people who wanted to learn more about how to protect our jobs, advocate for ourselves, and interact with people who can make or break us.

Now, I get it. We go to ASHA to learn how to best support our clients (oh, and to see our best CSD buddies). Holding the client paramount – this is our duty. But how can we hold our clients paramount if we don’t have the IDEA/ESEA/Medicare/Medicaid funding to do it? How can we hold our clients paramount when our professions are being threatened by a poor economy and an administration that doesn’t acknowledge our existence? How can we hold our clients paramount when our credentials aren’t universally recognized as a benchmark for licensing and other professional standards? This presentation was two hours. Two hours out of your three day ASHA schedule could have been dedicated to learning how to stand up for yourself and your colleagues.

We have to help ourselves, to help our clients (kind of that whole “Put your oxygen mask on first” thing.) And I would guess that 15 people can’t do it all. We cannot continue to assume that someone else will get to it. We cannot continue to run our professional lives with a “want something done – give it to a busy person” philosophy. We are ALL busy but, we are ALL accountable.

Want to know more about advocacy, for you and your clients? Contact ASHA-PAC. Contact your state association. Go to the ASHA website.  Contact your SEAL.  Contact your State Liaison. Become a Grassroots Captain. Start early by encouraging students, interns, CFs, and newbies to get involved! There are a million resources and you can get to them while you sit in your office chair.

Listen, I’m not saying run for president or Occupy ASHA – just don’t stand by. Do what you can, or at the least support people who are trying. While you’re thinking that someone else may do it, someone else may be thinking that YOU will do it.

I loved every second of the ASHA Convention, and I hope when I attend in the future that I see more presentations about government relations – and I hope to see more of you there.

NP: The Zombies – Time of the Season

 

(Samantha is one of the official ASHA Convention bloggers! Stay tuned for more insights from her and the other bloggers before, during and after convention.)

 

Samantha Weatherford, B.A., is a second-year, speech-language pathology graduate student at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.  She writes about speech-path and grad school on her blog, so to Speak. Does she think it is a coincidence that the first ever ASHA Convention was in St. Louis, MO, her beautiful hometown, and she chose to be an SLP? NOPE. FATE.

My nugget of ASHAcon knowledge

Friday was my first day of the ASHA Convention. For reasons I can’t remember, getting to ASHAcon on Friday rather than Thursday seemed work better for scheduling. I was wrong and missed out on a lot of great courses. I also missed out on a few meet-ups of those in the SLP blogosphere and Twitterverse. A learned lesson and a tip for future ASHAcon newbies: if you’re going to make the most of your ASHAcon experience (and the hard earned money you spend to get here!), get here on here on the opening day. The regret, it burns!

At any rate, I’m digressing from what I wanted to share with all of you good SLP folks. If you’ve ever thought about going to a short course, but have wavered because the cost (or the three hour, no break commitment), I’m telling you to reconsider. Short courses, if you’re not familiar, are ticketed courses on specific topics, many of which are put together by ASHA’s Special Interest Groups. The courses are presented by an array of panelists, usually those who have gained celebrity status among the ranks of their professional colleagues and humble followers. The partnership between such presenters and researchers provides an enormous wealth of knowledge to attendees in a way that is easy to follow along and digest. Among the seminars that I attended, the short course was a highlight of mine.

The short course I attended was Exercise Principles: How Much, How Often, How Intense? I believe that because there is a relatively small amount of course work on dysphagia in our professional training, many clinicians feel that there are gaps in our translational knowledge, that is the link between the science and our clinical practice. This sentiment may not be true for everybody, but I certainly feel this way at times. For example, what happens to our muscles when they are worked during exercise? How, on biological level, do muscles become stronger (or weaker)? What type of muscle do we use during swallowing, and will that influence that type of exercise we tell our patients to do? These are the types of questions that any of need to answer once we are already practicing and it exactly these types of questions that were answered by some of the biggest names in swallowing research: Dr. Lori Burkhead, Dr. Cathy Lazarus, Dr. Heather Clark and Dr. Michelle Troche. All of these presenters spoke at ease with the audience, with an authority gained by their years of experience and research, and it couldn’t have been a more informative and humbling presentation.

Because I’m a dork and believe in open-source knowledge in science, I want to share with you some of what I learned. First, some basic info on muscle anatomy. The basic unit of a muscle is a myofibril, which are essentially strands of proteins. Myofibrils are made up of repeating pieces of sarcomeres, which are also strands of protein. When the motor neuron releases acetylcholine and it binds to the muscle cell receptors, the sarcomere contracts, which causes the myofibrils to contract and in turn the muscle at large also contracts.

myofibril

(Source. 1. Motor neuron. 2. Neuromuscular junction. 3. Muscle fiber. 4. Myofibril)

To strengthen a muscle, additional myofibrils must be built. In addition to this, there are two types of muscle:

  • Type I; these are fatigue resistant and are good for endurance
  • Type II; these are used for power and strength. This can be broke down into Type IIa and Type IIb, for moderate activity/efficiency and for high power/less efficient activity, respectively.

So why is this important to know for dysphagia rehab? Because form follows function. In large, the tongue is made up of Type II muscle fibers, with the base of the tongue predominantly made of Type II and the tongue tip having more Type I than any other part of the tongue. When a muscle deconditions, neural activation, motor neurons and efficiency are reduced, which translates to atrophy and easily fatigued muscles. Another important factor of deconditioning is the phenomena of sarcophenia, age related decline of muscle fibers. As it is, this largely affects Type II fibers, which we know is predominant in the tongue. Swallowing, we have a problem.

It can be argued, they said, that when a person becomes npo, this deconditioning occurs because swallowing frequency declines, which in turn exacerbates dysphagia. I think this is a valid working theory. Then the question becomes ‘how do we reverse this trend? The answer: by conditioning muscles. This almost exactly the opposite of deconditioning, by increasing neural activation and the number of motor neurons. And do this, exercise must be a component of treatment, and exercise must have some distinct characteristics.

First, exercise must be specific, meaning it should mimic what actually happens during the swallowing. Citing some examples from exercise physiology as an analogy, people who want to improve in cycling will bike as exercise, and these people will not see any improvement in other sports, like running or swimming. Intensity also matters, in fact, there are some rather specific guidelines for this. To build those myofibrils, ate muscle needs to be overloaded during an exercise, at at least 60% of the maximum output of that muscle. To prevent plateau, it’s important to recognize gains and new maximum output after exercise to maintain that 60% mark.

They also cited numerous studies highlighting specific exercise effects for the tongue with some novel findings. Exercising the tongue against resistance in a variety of directions (protrusion, elevation and lateralization) yielded stronger forces, no surprise there. But they also found that exercising the tongue in a single direction improved strength for tongue movements in all directions. To me, this seemed to deviate slightly from the specificity principle. However, in studying exercise conditions, they found specific effects for targeting strength, power and endurance of the tongue, all of which were mutually exclusive (i.e., targeting strength did not improve power).

A little more murky was the research regarding duration of exercise. Should exercise be done two times a week? Seven days a week? There seemed to be positive effects from anywhere between 2 and 7 days a week for at least 4 weeks or more. Though, no clear picture was really made on this point, other than exercising more often than not is important.

This was essentially the meat of the course. There was a lot more than this, of course, and I could write a much longer post than this if I wanted. The panel also discussed changes to tissues and muscles following radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, the importance of pre- and post-dypsphagia exercise and the time frame of when to expect improved muscle and swallow function. There was also talk on the use of expiratory muscle strength training (EMST) and its application to swallowing function. I was only vaguely aware of EMST in general, which is the use of a device into one blows against resistance to improve muscle respiratory muscle strength. As it happens, use of EMST also promotes soft palate and laryngeal elevation and base of tongue retraction-all things that happen during swallowing. Needless to say, I’ll be following research on this a little more closely in the future.

This short course was exactly what I look for when attending a seminar. It had knowledgable presenters who engaged the audience, it covered basic scientific concepts and in turn used that science to garner translational knowledge to bridge that gap between the lab and the clinic. Did anyone else attend this course? Please add anything you thought I didn’t cover, or something that I didn’t make more clear. Did you attend another short course, or another seminar that blew your mind? Let us know here. Drop the name of seminar, the presenter and what you took away presentation.

 

(Adam is one of the official ASHA Convention bloggers! Stay tuned for more insights from him and the other bloggers before, during and after convention.)

Adam Slota M.A., CCC-SLP is a speech pathologist working in long term care and long term acute care settings, primarily with tracheostomy and ventilator dependent patients. He is also the author of the blog slowdog where he writes about various topics in speech pathology and beer, among other frisky and/or mundane missives.

I Was an Exhibitionist

The perks of a big state or national convention are many.  It’s a chance for intensive learning, an opportunity to chat with colleagues, a time to check cues off the list.  But let’s face it—you love the exhibit hall.  The freebies, the salespeople (be honest, you want to be talked into the purchase), the practical inspiration for your treatment sessions.

Exhibit Hall C didn’t disappoint.  It seemed I always walked through the doors and smack into the Super Duper booth. Have you ever had this experience? It’s akin to walking in on the North Pole.  Those smiling faces of the logo are everywhere, helpful elves are pressing brightly colored bags into your hands and, oh, the toys, the games!  Don’t be alarmed if you arrive home to a large box that blew your budget.  You won’t be the first one to fall victim to ASHA intoxication.

I had to drop in on PediaStaff and see if Heidi was in the house.  And there she was!  We’ve communicated by email but not met in person and it was so nice to finally put a face to the name.  While they focus on placement of therapists in various settings (CFYs, too!), I love them for the fabulous newsletter and Pinterest board.  They’ve gained more than 5000 followers for their board in a few short months.  You need to check it out.

I also needed to swing by the SmartyEars booth and say hi to Barbara, aka GeekSLP.  I’ve met her  before at the NC Speech-Language-Hearing Association conference and if you ever have a chance to drop in on one of her sessions—take it.

Friday morning found me at the Say It Right booth promoting my books, Artic Attack and other /R/ Games and Artic Attack and other S/Z Games.  This was my first experience being an exhibitor of sorts and I loved it.  Lots of pediatric therapists coming by looking for a new technique or looking to add titles from the line they’ve already had success using.  Christine Ristuccia, Say It Right founder, was there to interact with fans and field loads of questions about her methods for incorporating yoga into speech
therapy.  How cool is that?!

I left with an order receipt I’m a little nervous to look at (though I know when I unpack the box I’ll be delighted) and an embarrassingly long wish list.  “Dear Santa, I’ve been a very good therapist this year….Love, Activity Tailor”

(Kim is one of the official ASHA Convention bloggers! Stay tuned for more insights from her and the other bloggers before, during and after convention.)

 

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

If you are younger than 80 this post is for you

“Last call for Sunday dinner. If I don’t hear from you via FB or phone by  11 AM tomorrow I’ll take that as a no.”

Direct quote: My Grandma

Source: Facebook

My Grandma, Dee, is 76 years old. She unplugs the computer when it freezes  up (Dee, seriously, stop that). She always thinks someone is hacking her  account. She doesn’t want a phone with a camera. She is one of my most favorite humans on the Earth.

And…she Facebooks. She likes, comments, posts, tags, shares, LOLs, calls my mom her “BFF” –  she is a Facebook machine. A champion of Facebook, if you will.

76. Facebook. SEVENTY-SIX.

When ASHA-goers (who are younger than 76) have seen my “I Tweet” sticker it  has induced reactions of:

  • Camaraderie: “You tweet? Me too! What’s your handle?”
  • Judgment: “Oh. You tweet. (accompanied by ‘the face’)”
  • Awe: “You tweet? Coooool!”
  • Confusion: “You tweet. Whatsa tweet? Have I been twitting and didn’t know
    it?”

But they, and you, CAN TWEET! Among other things! It is not so hard! I PROMISE.

When I got on Facebook in 2006 it was about collecting friends, like Pogs or Pokemon (gotta catch ‘em all!). Who has the most friends? Who has the most tags?  Who likes the best bands? Who has the funniest quotes? – I think it has maintained that stigma so people have generalized this time-suck to ALL social media. This is an outdated view of social media, and it ages you when you act like you’ve never heard of “the Twitter.” While social media can still be used for silly, superficial functions (as well as being used to majorly creep on people), it and other sites, can be used for so much more.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus, Hipster-Underground-Sites, blogs, ASHACommunity. These sites are used to facilitate sharing, educating, learning, AND (you CSD professionals should like this one!) COMMUNICATING.

Tonight in the West Terrace, Maggie McGary helped get all the #slpeeps and #audpeeps (people who use social media to share CSD information) in one place for the annual Tweetup. We didn’t do anything earth shattering, but it just goes to show that social media is slowly, but surely, proving that it can bring people together. As a profession we support communication and interaction! We are all coo-coo for cocoa puffs over apps and AAC. So why are we so scared of other technological avenues for communicating?

With the advent of smart phones, iPads, netbooks, wifi, and goodness knows what else – using social media is easy as a touch. With one finger. THE TIP OF ONE FINGER. A LIGHT TOUCH WITH THE TIP OF ONE FINGER.

I want to challenge all of you to use social media in SOME WAY this year. Advocate. Connect with your state or national associations. Advertise. Find a common ground with a client. Get to know an #slpeep. Share an interesting link. Then maybe next year we’ll see YOU at the Tweetup!

PS – I’m at the Hostel at Fifth and Market and I had 12 minutes of Internet. I wrote this by hand. OLD SCHOOL.

PPS- I’m addicted to ASHA. I’m never leaving. I will be continuing the conference after you all leave. You’re welcome to join me.

NP: I”ll Find a Hearing Aid for Ya

(Samantha is one of the official ASHA Convention bloggers! Stay tuned for more insights from her and the other bloggers before, during and after convention.)

 

Samantha Weatherford, B.A., is a second-year, speech-language pathology graduate student at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.  She writes about speech-path and grad school on her blog, so to Speak. Does she think it is a coincidence that the first ever ASHA Convention was in St. Louis, MO, her beautiful hometown, and she chose to be an SLP? NOPE. FATE.

 

The Energy of ASHA 2011

 

brain eye to eye

photo credit: Kip May

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor was exiting the hotel elevator I got on this morning and I did a double take.  It took only a moment to register the face and cascade of hair that matched the photo from the convention program and realize why she caused me to pause.  But after hearing her dynamic presentation at the Opening Session, I’m not sure that’s what it was at all.

Dr. Taylor is a neuroanatomist.  Obviously, she’s a brilliant, well-educated scientist.  In 1996, she suffered a stroke that robbed her of speech, memories, and her ability to read, write or walk.  Eight, I’d imagine grueling years later, she had fully regained all function.  And I mean all.  Since then she wrote My Stroke of Insight and has given numerous presentations on her experience.  I loved it.  And since she does have all the scientific credentials appropriate to her field, I can comfortably report on the more “groovy” aspects of her outlook without diminishing the message.

Energy.  When she was operating all “right brain”, she was energy looking for connections.  Gone was the analytical mind, searching for right/wrong, the linear and sequential.  She was full of the present moment and the energy that she and others brought to their space.  “Take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space” was a take-away quote (one so profound it even hangs on Oprah’s make-up mirror).

More than once she said that early on, she remained in a euphoria of “I’m alive” with no motivation to “rejoin” the judgemental, serial thinkers.  That she was either attracted or repelled by the energy of others and the only way to engage her in the hard work of rehab was to let go of urgent left brain energy to entice her into action.  Energy.  Connections.  It all boils down to interactions and relationships.

And isn’t this what we should strive for in all aspects of our lives–personal and professional?  Meeting others with compatible energy forces.  Making connections.  Interacting and establishing relationships.  Isn’t this truly the underpinnings of communication?  In many ways even more than the linguistic exchange itself?

So, I wonder, was it her energy that caused me to pause?  Her self-proclaimed attitude of, “I am the life power of all these cells”, that others respond to?  Certainly it will be an insight I ponder.

(Kim is one of the official ASHA Convention bloggers! Stay tuned for more insights from her and the other bloggers before, during and after convention.)

 

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