In the wake of ASHA Connect 2019’s wrap-up on Sunday, SLPs who attended are returning home, ready to implement a host of new strategies, from slowing down time to using the 3:1 workload model in schools to better gauging severity of speech sound disorders. Here are the new ideas just a few of them plan to try out across health care, private practice, and school settings.
Valorie “Lorri” Andrews begins a new job as an SLP in the Sahuarita Unified School District outside Tucson, Arizona, on July 31. She attended ASHA Connect 2019 in preparation for her new position. “I’d like to get into classrooms more and work with the whole group, especially kindergartners, on phonemic awareness and phonological awareness… and trying to [take] a more proactive approach to try to keep kids from getting referred to special education.”
This is Lauren Wallenius’ fourth time visiting Connect, which she calls her favorite conference. “I go to what some would consider the boring stuff, the coding and billing,” Wallenius says. “I like the interactive presentations [on coding and billing] because when you read it online, it’s kind of dry, but being able to be in the room with everybody and talk with the subject matter experts is a really great experience.”
Andy Webb, a school-based SLP in Carpentersville, Illinois, is intrigued by the idea of using paint sample strips to show a range of intensity for vocabulary words. Is he going to try it? “Yeah. I’m gonna steal that idea,” Webb says.
Kim Murza’s presentation, “What Truly Requires My Expertise? Reconceptualizing Service Delivery in the Schools,” stood out to attendee Nancy Hunt, who works in the Burke County Public Schools and a private setting in Georgia. She’ll use information from Murza’s session as her school prepares to implement the 3:1 workload model. “I can see myself doing more coaching with the teachers and the paraprofessionals, so my students can get more support in the general education setting,” Hunt says, “and with that 3:1 model, I know definitely that’s going to give me some extra time to implement that coaching model too.”
As a special education administrator overseeing 12 districts and 44 SLPs, Don Tisthammer also sees potential benefits of the 3:1 workload model. If the SLPs he oversees can implement the model, he thinks it will make them feel less stressed.
As a pre-k speech-language diagnostician from Pensacola, Florida, Phyllis Griffin enjoyed a session on speech sound disorders. “I learned a new system of how to look at it, and how to come with a number to get a severity level… Childhood apraxia and dysarthria are so difficult to differentiate, so we’ll have a system to help us do that,” Griffin says.
For Emily Clemens, an SLP who works at a preschool in the Chicago suburbs, Tatyana Elleseff’s presentation detailing milestones for bilingual children stuck with her. “A lot of us have memorized the milestones for single-language learners,” Clemens says. “It’ll be really useful to be equipped with milestones now for bilingual language learners.”
Tiajuana Freeman attended all three sessions presented by former school counselor, Kari Knutson. An SLP working in Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia, Freeman says the sessions made her more aware of soft skills, the role of nonverbal communication, and how she can help support skills related to emotional intelligence for her students and herself.
Shelly Whitty, a school-based SLP from Las Cruces, New Mexico, also praised Knutson’s sessions, saying they made her think about how she interacts with others. “It’s not just about the language and the [skills] we were trained so directly in, but a lot about how you connect with people on a more basic level, as in body language and eye contact.”
Janet Moore, and SLP in a suburban school district in Park Forest, Illinois, is inspired by information on making IEPs more student-centered. “A session on progress monitoring for students who have IEPs was very informative,” Moore says. “It gave me some different ways to look at data collection, which has always been a challenge. For my whole 30-year career, data collection has been a challenge.”
Wish you could see some of the sessions? Check out Connect On-Demand and access more than 60 recorded sessions.
J.D. Gray is editor/producer for ASHA’s forthcoming podcast. firstname.lastname@example.org.