Home Academia & Research Spotlight on SIG 2, Neurogenic Communication Disorders

Spotlight on SIG 2, Neurogenic Communication Disorders

by Heather Clark
written by
SLP working with child

SLP Heather M. Clark shares how her experience as an affiliate of SIG 2 has enriched her professional life and teaching career.

When did you join your SIG—and what made you want to join?

I joined SIG 2 in 1996. At that time the groups were known as Special Interest Divisions. I had just started a new career as an assistant professor and was eager to join a community of SLPs with similar interests, but with a wider variety of experiences than I had. I predicted, correctly, that this network would enrich my teaching and help me feel more connected to other professors and clinicians.

How has your involvement with the SIG helped you in your career?

Early in my career, some of my first opportunities for leadership were with SIG 2. I served on the coordinating committee (then known as the Steering Committee), contributed to some of the projects led by SIG 2 subcommittees and served as an issue editor for Perspectives. These were excellent learning experiences for me and provided the type of national recognition expected for tenure and promotion. Throughout my career, Perspectives and discussions on the online community have helped me stay current in my main areas of interest and led me to discover previously unfamiliar areas of practice and research.

How do you carve out time to volunteer with the SIG while working in your full-time job and balancing other commitments? What advice would you give to someone who’d like to get more involved in the SIG, including how you get support from your supervisor/institution?

In the university setting, although I had no specific time allotted for committee work, my schedule overall was quite flexible. Now that I am once again in full-time clinical practice, my committee work is conducted after hours and between patient visits. As a supervisor, I strongly support my colleagues’ interests in volunteer work and leadership. Their efforts bring recognition to our institution and to our expertise, the activities contribute to their overall sense of well-being and career satisfaction, and the work completed ultimately serves to forward our profession—all outcomes that are important to me as a clinician, consumer and leader.

What upcoming events related to or sponsored by your SIG should everyone know about? Chats, conferences or convention events?

SIG 2 and the Motor Speech Disorders Topic Committee are co-sponsoring a session at the 2018 ASHA Convention: “Honing Your Ear: Identifying Salient Features of Motor Speech Disorders Across the Lifespan.” In this interactive session, Sue Caspari and I will use audio and video examples to illustrate key features of dysarthria and apraxia of speech. Participants will then practice describing these features and interpreting them to formulate differential diagnoses.

What is your favorite recent Perspectives article, and why?

I’ve decided to define “recent” liberally and identify the April 2002 issue of Perspectivesyes, the entire issueas my favorite. The issue theme was “Treatment of the ‘A’s’—Alexia, Agraphia, Apraxia, Agnosia, Acalculia.” I used that issue as supplemental reading in one of my courses and I still refer back to these excellent articles.

Heather M. Clark, PhD, CCC-SLP, is the chair of the Division of Speech Pathology in the Department of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic and an associate professor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. She is an affiliate of SIG 2, Neurogenic Communication Disorders; SIG 5, Craniofacial and Velopharyngeal Disorders; and SIG 13, Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia). clark.heather1@mayo.edu

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