If you didn’t make it to ASHA’s 2019 Convention in Orlando—or if you came but couldn’t make it to every session you wanted to attend—find out what you missed. As we scouted for future article ideas, Leader editors asked ASHA members what they’ll take into their practice, classroom, or health care setting when they get home.
Whether you’re a student or experienced clinician, find out what insights from your peers can work for you, too.
► “Right away, I will start stepping back and taking time to appreciate what these children go through,” said Catherine Cotton. The SLP listened carefully to multiple sessions on serving children who experienced trauma. She valued presenters’ strategies to make sure the child is ready to engage before trying to provide intervention.
“I now also know to remain flexible for the benefit of caregivers [who might miss or be late for sessions, but for cultural or physical limitations, and not out of disrespect,] while remaining professional.”
► For Catherine Dent, a school-based SLP in Roanoke, Virginia, a session on using a single paragraph to target multiple goals grabbed her attention. She appreciated the “simplicity of the strategy, which makes it something I can and will use immediately.”
Dent praised the efficiency and time-saving benefits of the practical approaches offered. For example, in a paragraph on animals, an SLP can use the word “kitten” as the name of a baby animal and ask students to list other baby animal names.
“Plus, I can use a paragraph from a student’s class or assignment in all subjects, from math to science to history, so I can help all teachers this way and still target IEP goals.”
► “I have two students with cochlear implants, and we don’t have an educational audiologist, and we just lost our deaf/hard-of-hearing teacher. So I need to get up to speed on CIs fast,” said Christina Hennion, a school-based SLP at North Lawrence Community Schools in Bedford, Indiana, with 25 years of experience. She watched a demonstration at a hearing technology hands-on lab and plans to bring what she learned about the latest CI innovations back to her district.
“My kids have had their devices for more than 10 years, so they’re due for an update. It’s been hard to do because of financing and insurance. I’m here to learn the latest on their options and will use it to advocate for them.”
► “Coming to convention for years gives me a clear focus on how to get what I need from sessions,” said SLP Veronica Bailey, After working in health care and skilled nursing facilities, she wanted a change, so she moved into schools last year.
Bailey feels convention programming has changed and built up over the years to better prepare members for the future. “For example, this year I focused on technology. I can now see beyond treating patients face-to-face. Going to sessions on telepractice—and visiting exhibitors showing apps to use in practice—forced me to step outside of my comfort zone, but gave me the tools I needed to do so.”
► “I deepened my interest in the neurology part of the field, which I wasn’t very familiar with before the convention,” said Daniella Lopez, a graduate student at the University of Central Florida. Lopez was a classroom teacher and went back to school to become an SLP.
“I went to several sessions relating to neurology and learned about disorders and conditions that either you’re born with or could really impact anyone at any moment. This was one of the most exciting things for me. So I think the acute-care need for SLPs is really eye-opening for me.”
► Working in a hospital in Washington, D.C., SLP Eno Umoh witnesses the anxiety patients experience during or after stays in long-term acute care. A session on the effects of anxiety on children provided strategies she’ll apply to her adult patients.
“One example showed an SLP using yoga with young kids who were all over the place. After 10 minutes they were calm and everyone’s body language changed drastically,” Umoh said. “I can’t implement yoga at the bedside but I can use mindful breathing techniques to help patients relax. When you’re anxious, your body changes and your muscles tighten, so this can help.”
► “I went to a great session on fluency led by Farzan Arani. He talked about helping people who stutter connect with their feelings to identify what’s happening internally that acts as a trigger,” said Camille Johnson, an SLP in the Atlanta public schools.
“Then you send the student out to talk with peers and teachers, and when they feel those triggers you have helped them identify, they can use the strategies you’ve taught them and see if they’re helpful. I have a student in mind that I’m going to try this with. The session also emphasized that we can help students understand that it’s OK to be disfluent, that everyone has moments of disfluency.”
► Krystal Gambrell, SLP and colleague of Johnson’s in the Atlanta public schools, appreciated one particular seminar on autism:
“I was reminded that autism is a global language disorder, not just a social/pragmatic disorder. We get so wrapped up in social behaviors and routines to help students transition into new situations, we sometimes forget comprehension and reception. We need to help them build their vocabulary so they can communicate outside of their routines and work on generalizing skills.”
► “I really appreciated Edie Hapner’s lecture Thursday morning. She challenged everyone to think critically about the research we are reading and how to do that,” said Sarah Young, a clinical educator at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. “It will definitely change the way I read research articles.”
► Elizabeth Aguilar, a school-based SLP originally from Puerto Rico, but now working for the Pasadena Unified School District in Claifornia, feels that, generally, this convention helped her expand her expertise and offered the base to move forward in her career.
“I able to connect with people I knew from my studies and see their current work,” she said. “And I’m also seeing new people from other colleges with new research and new programs and new studies they want to do.”
Aguilar explained how witnessing her peers’ work is important, because she wants to take the next step in doing something new or adding research to her current work. Seeing what other SLPs are doing was just the inspiration she needed to take that next step.
► Jordan Hazlewood, assistant professor teaching dysphagia, voice, and neuroanatomy at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, came for two reasons.
“I’m here to support my students’ learning—I have two graduate students presenting poster sessions and several undergrads volunteering—and also develop my own professional career going forward. I definitely think students need to come to ASHA as soon as they can. Their learning experience and their insight into [the broad range of] the profession really grows. What they’re learning is valuable and worthwhile.”
We hope one or more of these insights help you, too. And perhaps inspire you to join us next year in San Diego.