So many sessions at the ASHA Convention—2,500 at least. And all of them occurring over only three days. All you can do is get to as many of them as you can, absorbing the knowledge and new learning like it’s an all-nighter study session back in college.
Along the way, there are those nuggets you hear. Those things presenters and people in the audience say that all-of-a-sudden shift your thinking, make you want to tweak your practice, start a new program, or open a whole different research inquiry. Here’s a sampling of some of those brain bites heard by this reporter.
On why it’s key to incorporate speech-language teaching seamlessly into the family routine when coaching parents on carry-over.
“One thing I know is if you give parents therapy tasks to do with their kids that aren’t part of the family’s general routine, they just won’t do it. You have to incorporate them into the regular family routine. Even if it’s an artic goal, it’s got to be part of what they do on the way home from school or around the dinner table. It’s never going to be part of regular time the family sets aside for speech. That’s just not gonna happen.”
—Sylvia Diehl, president, Knowledge Counts, and professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Florida, in the session “Including Families of Children with Autism”
On the importance of protecting your assets by avoiding joint tenancy in management of your private practice.
“Joint tenancy is the most dangerous way to own an asset in America. It’s critical to separate your own assets, and your partner’s, from your business. Because if you get sued, they won’t just go after your business. They’ll go after everything you’ve got.”
—Larry Oxenham, senior adviser at the American Society for Asset Protection, in the session “Lawsuit Protection, Tax Reduction & Estate Planning for Audiologists”
On using the Dynamic Evaluation of Motor Speech Skill (DEMSS) when evaluating children for childhood apraxia of speech (CAS).
“When administering the DEMSS, we always have to go back to our purpose, which is distinguishing CAS from phonologic disorder. And that’s why inconsistency of errors is so important in this assessment.”
—Edythe Strand, Professor Emeritus, speech pathology, Mayo Clinic, in the session “Updates on the Latest Assessment Tools for Childhood Apraxia of Speech”
On facing your own implicit biases regarding races, cultures, and populations unfamiliar to you, and striving for cultural competence, in your service provision.
“Cultural competency is not a point that you achieve, a stopping point. It’s an ongoing process. To continually work on it, it helps to read narratives from the cultures you serve that you don’t know as much about.”
—Jessica Mitchell, SLP in early intervention, Speak Advantage, Raleigh, North Carolina, in the session “Implicit Bias: Is It Present in Your Clinical Service Provision?”
On why chatbots surpass more simplistic artificial intelligence (AI) tools like Alexa when teaching pragmatic conversational skills to children on the autism spectrum.
“The chatbot goes beyond just answering questions and actually draws the child into conversation. This helps teach kids with autism that we don’t just dominate conversation. It goes back and forth.”
—Lois Brady, iTherapy, in the session “Artificial Intelligence to Support Language Across Age, Abilities”
On why environmental and cultural factors make picky eating extra difficult to manage in America.
“We will have a lot more success with eating if the kid is hungry, but what do we do? We graze all day long. We live in a society where we can eat whatever we want, whenever we want, and that only contributes to the problem of restrictive eating.”
—Mary Blickley, University of Virginia, in the session “Blending ABA techniques with feeding strategies to expand diets and improve mealtime harmony”
On the diversity conundrum in speech-language pathology, and why heightened diversity- recruitment efforts in the profession are necessary.
“Lack of diversity in the field is one of biggest deterrents to recruiting diversity into the field.”
—Audrey Farrugia, Eastern Michigan University, in the session “Not Like Me: Experiences of Students of Color in Pursuit of a Speech-language Pathology Degree”
Bridget Murray Law is editor-in-chief of The ASHA Leader.