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It’s that time of the year…

25 Feb

As you may (or may not) know, I freaking love the annual Missouri Speech-Language-Hearing Association conference. It just gives me so many warm fuzzies. I get to see my #slpeeps from all over the state, some of whom I see once a year at this event. And I would love to see you there!

My potential MSHA schedule

If you’ve been to MSHA before, then you know that you sign up for presentations but you don’t actually have to go to them (much like the ASHA convention.) So this is my non-committal schedule, feel free to stalk me in a friendly-slp sort of way. If you want to stalk me and kidnap me and eat my toenails please refrain, k thanks.

I know a few of the #slpeeps on the Twitter will be in attendance such as @LaurenCreek, @GeekSlp, @annfeeya, @klevs_12, and @kubs191 (and probably a lot of others – those are just the ones I’m pretty darn sure about.) We should have some kind of Tweet-Up where we bond and eat warm pretzels together! (MSHA has a weird thing with warm pretzels…don’t ask me.) Let me know if you’ll be there and I haven’t told everyone ūüôā

Okay, I’m taking a thesis break to blog this and now it is time to get back at it! Currently working on the results section – we’re at a 97 page count as of current.

NP: Rihanna – Birthday Cake (warning – explicit and also Chris Brown is in it which means it goes against everything I stand for but it is so damn catchy. A lot like Chick-Fil-A.)




Last but not least

29 Nov

Here is my third and final post regarding the 2011 ASHA Convention via ASHAsphere. It’s about getting involved and advocating for your profession. So, read it HERE.

Also, I’m taking the apartment.

Now, time to edit some treatment summaries! LIKE A BOSS.

it’s been awhile

28 Nov

Sorry all. I had the week off for Thanksgiving and while I love blogging, I was slightly busy with family and friends.

Currently I’m having thesisy issues. One of my committee members won’t email me back, I’ve only got four participants, the nursing home hasn’t contacted me about getting more participants. I don’t know if I should try to find same age peers without dementia so I at least have n=8? Or maybe I could do individual case studies with each participant since I only have four?


That’s pretty much my main concern right now. I’m trying to pack up my apartment a bit (actually I pulled all of my belongings out of my closets yesterday like a crazy person and now my apartment looks absolutely wild.)

don't tell Stephanie

I need to write my third and final ASHAsphere post, but I’m having brain troubles (meaning – I know what I want to say but I want to say it in a way that you know, makes sense.) And then just finishing up with classes, taking finals, wrapping up clinic, and so forth – which is just busy work for the most part. I’VE GOT BIGGER FISH TO FRY.

On the upside, I bought a NYE dress! It’s so pretty. Yay!

Now that you’ve got my life update, I thought I’d share some ASHAcon 2011 pictures! Katie refuses to put hers online so I’ll share hers LATER.


I am the shy-est

Palm trees at the convention center

San Diego Convention Center - where we did all of our learning!

view from the CC

If only we could have met him in real life!

ASHA partners in crime!

Some Truman SLP friends at NSSLHA day!

screwing around in the exhibit hall

we want to know how much these tiny lighthouses cost to make

ASHA bling

I'm in the ASHA guide! With Kim Lewis (aka Activity Tailor)

Line to get into NSSLHA Day Luncheon was out the door!

Check out the tweet wall #slpeeps

Dr. Rao talking to the First Timers

there was a lot of floor sitting at ASHAcon11

Thanks ASHA - for recommending the hostel!

There you are, for now!

NP: Florence + the Machine – Heavy in Your Arms


some other fun ASHA knowledge

23 Nov

As I said previously, I attended 17 presentations at ASHA. Instead of hashing out each presentation, I decided I would share one thing I learned from the non-swallowing presentations I attended.

Alright, so first up – I went to a session entitled “Implementing the PECS Protocol to Teach Functional SGD Use” which was presented by Joy McGowan. Usually I try to stay more adult based when I attend seminars, workshops, conferences, BUT – my school externship supervisor said I’d be working with a caseload of nearly 90% nonverbal. SO, I thought this might be a good one to attend. And I was right! I think the main thing I took away from this presentation is know the difference between what type of reinforcement you’re using. Is it tangible or social? And how does the receiver of the reinforcement see the reinforcer? If you’re working with a child with autism, are they seeing that hug as social? Or are they receiving deep pressure input and as such, that hug may be tangible.

if you Google PECS – this is what happens

NEXT – I went to a half an hour presentation entitled Predicting the New Voice in Male-to-Female Transsexuals. It wasn’t the greatest, and it wasn’t particularly applicable. But it was cool to see that someone who has not had surgery and wasn’t receiving hormones could change their pitch significantly. I also missed the first five minutes or so, so it’s possible that I was just a little lost.

Onward! I kind of hate sports. I mean, I’ll watch them. But they make me incredibly nervous. So I like to learn about concussion and TBI as sports related injuries so that when I have children I can mold them into nerds who like to stay inside where it’s safe and read. As such I went to The Role of the SLP in Concussion Education, presented by Nancy Cohick. I think my main take away here was, you can tell teenage boys not to act like idiots but it probably won’t sink in. She has been trying to implement concussion in-servicing for teachers, coaches, parents, and students and I think her presentation seems pretty straightforward. But she hasn’t been seeing much learning going on.

I went to two presentations on NSSLHA day – one on surviving externships and the other on the PRAXIS. I can’t say I really got much out of them that I didn’t already know. But I was impressed with how smoothly NSSLHA day went and how many people attended. Nice job, NSSLHA!

Pretty much forever I’ve been considering the Ph.D. I know I won’t do it tomorrow or anything, but I imagine sooner or later I’ll likely get around to it. I attended Stories From the Frontlines: Pursuing the PhD which was presented by a handful of Ph.D. students. It was very helpful and informative, and woo-wee are those women SMART. My main takeaway from that was take a stats class pre-Ph.D.! (I was planning on it anyway but they really encouraged it. So now I’m extra encouraged.)

I went to one presentation entitled Communication Skills of Children With CP and Severe Motor Impairment presented by Emily McFadd and Katherine Hustad. Much like the PECS presentation, I went to this to get prepared for my school externship site which will be working with a population of students with severe disabilities. The presenters encouraged the audience to use the Gross Motor Function Classification System, which is used by many OT/PT/Pediatricians/Neuros etc. The main takeaway was at Level 4 and 5 of the GMFCS, the students should be using AAC as either a supplement or as their main modality for communication. They said to take what the student is already doing to communicate (most likely eye gaze, facial expression, vocalizing, crying, or body movement) and find AAC which will suit them now – but consider the future. And don’t ever give up on speech.

I then attended a presentation regarding Traumatic Brain Injury: School and Outpatient Transition by Renee Lavelle and Lindsay Wilson. This presentation was excellent and provided a lot of ideas for TBI treatment in the schools. I think the best thing I got from this presentation was that we really need to be advocates for kids with TBI in the schools. They LOOK fine, so teachers expect a lot of them, and it may be hard to get them services. We really need to make sure we can justify services by looking at the areas of Sensory, Impulsivity, Attention, Executive Function, Memory, Language, and Pragmatics. In-servicing is a big deal for making sure these kids get what they need.

If I went to a presentation that I was a little disappointed in, it was Teaching to the Test – Linguistic Demands of State Assessments. The presentation overall was just fine, but the content was lacking. I thought it was going to be more of an advocacy type of presentation. How can we fight NCLB and make sure that students with disabilities aren’t taking the same test as students who don’t have disabilities? I think what it actually was, was a passive attack on the state assessment. Instead of looking at how we can deal with the administrative issues, it was how can we teach our students to deal with the test? We spent WAY too much time looking at examples of linguistic difficulty on the tests(Listen guys, we’re SLPs, we can identify a derivational morpheme. And if we can’t, we only need one example, not seven.) I think we all know that linguistic demands of state assessments are ridiculous, and that the requirements of NCLB are absolutely absurd. We shouldn’t lay down and take it, and force our students to try to reach the level of the test. It just seems wrong to take a child who has language/literacy issues and instead of focusing on the functional issues they’re having, we’re focusing on how to teach them what is on the test – which may be beyond what their baseline issues are. I’m sure that this is a reasonable way to deal with NCLB at the present- it just wasn’t was I was expecting. BLAH.

I bet this bill would say “BLAH” too

And that is it. I went to one other presentation, but that is going to be the focus of my next ASHAsphere post! So you’ll just have to wait it out.

NP: Cat Power – Lived in Bars



22 Nov

One of our professors is super into stuttering and cluttering research, so the name “Kenneth O St. Louis” stands out to my classmates and I quite a bit.

When we saw our professor, Dr. Klaas Bakker, standing with his research buddy, Kenneth, at ASHAcon, we got a little excited about the SLP celebrity sighting.

As any intelligent, well-behaved, grown woman would do, Katie photobombed him.


NP: The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil


oh yeah

21 Nov

Here’s my second post on ASHAsphere: If you are younger than 80 this post is for you.



sharing of the dysphagia info

21 Nov

It begins.

I attended a butt-ton of presentations on swallowing. I won’t tell you every gory detail on everything I heard, but I will give you a little peek-see at each presentation’s take away message.

I attended the following:

Assessment and Management of Swallowing in Patients with ALS

Cultural Competence and Dysphagia: Improving Quality of Life

A Group Approach to Pediatric Feeding

Swallowing Neurophysiology from Reflex to Volition

Trach Babies and Trach Vent Babies

Effects on Bolus Variation

Treatment choices for the Dysphagic Patient

(Yeah, my brain is tired. Thanks for asking.)

I’ll just start at the beginning. The first presentation on ALS and dysphagia wasn’t really specific to ALS, so that was kind of nice. The presentations that were very specific to one thing or another tended to be a bit much, a little over my head. Anyway, so this presentation gave a brief look at ALS, the epidemiology, incidence, signs and symptoms, effects on swallow etc. It then delved into assessment and treatment. I really enjoyed hearing the speakers’, Kimberly¬†Winter and Jennifer¬†Chapin, opinions regarding aspiration. They base their opinion off the Logemann, 1998 research on aspiration which showed that 38% of known aspirators in their (huge) study developed aspiration pneumonia. 27% of the 38% were NPO.I think as a group, when SLPs see aspiration on an MBS we flip out, everyone is gasping and covering their mouths and shaking their heads. Winter and Chapin were just saying, “Hey ya’ll, chill out!”Katie and I went to a presentation by Delphine¬†Herrmann and¬†Svetlana¬†Piliavsky (who are just so adorable I wanted to hug them both) on culture and dysphagia. It really just made me think. We all know to respect culture and get to know our patients. But their suggestions really showed me how above-and-beyond we can go to make sure our patients have the best quality of life possible when dealing with modified diets. They want us to consider the implications of just providing a client with a name of a food. Find out what that food might be called in their culture, like hummus instead of pureed peas. They encouraged us to try to modify foods that would be normal for them, and to consider temperature, texture, eating rituals, and so forth.

Elizabeth¬†Baird and Wyndi¬†Capeci gave a presentation on group feeding for peds with eating and feeding difficulty. They have a protocol in place (art time, sensory time, oral alerting, snack time) which helps children build up to eating new foods. They really encouraged a “stress free, no rules” eating routine and wanted to make sure parents as well as children get a good grasp on the new routine. They based their protocol of the Social Learning Theory and they said they have a lot of success. I could see why – their program was very systematic, well thought out, and organized. Me gusta.

Ianessa Humbert and another woman whose name is not on the schedule, gave AN AWESOME lecture on neurophysiology of swallowing. I in no way could wrap it up here, but trust me when I say it totally blew my mind. They had such a lovely ease during their presentation and though I could tell they both had IQs of about 1,000 – they made the material manageable and understandable. Love, love, love.

Trach babies and trach vent babies. The presenter, Suzanne Abraham, had WAY more info than could possibly be covered in an hour. She really needed a short course spot. Dear ASHA, give Suzanna Abraham a short course spot. Love, Sam. But seriously, we barely even got to delve into what she had to say. A fountain of knowledge that lady is. She had a ton of videos and just, wow. She wanted to go over four levels of trach assessment and care and I think we got halfway into level one.

Bonnie¬†Martin-Harris oversaw a presentation given by a Ph.D. student, on the Effects of Bolus Variables on Physiologic Components of Swallowing Impairment. So, so interesting and slightly over my head. Their takeaway message was basically that there NEEDS to standardization of swallowing assessment protocol and rating. They stated that the MBSImP was a reliable and valid observational rating tool to use during swallowing assessment, and that during MBS all SLPs should start with a thin liquid because that is where you’ll see the most impairment. They said not to just stop there though, that all viscosities are important to the MBS. I really wish their PPT was online because I would love to review it and try to make more sense of it. Half an hour was not enough.

And last but not least, I attended (and sort of got peer pressured into) the Jeri¬†Logemann, Mary J.¬†Bacon, Amy¬†Kelly, Bernice¬†Klaben, Annette¬†May, Mario¬†Landera, and Linda¬†Stachowiak lecture on Treatment Choices for the Dysphagic Patient: The Problem and Setting. It was advanced level, so I should have known better. But we just wanted to see Dr. Logemann in real life! Basically each presenter showed a case study and talked about their treatment choices and the outcomes for each case. Most of the cases had some kind of oral-head-neck cancer. I tried to take down general notes that I could use, but for the most part the cases were much too specific for me. I’m glad I went but I could have found something more applicable to a graduate student.

Excuse me Dr. Logemann, I mustache you a question

There you have it – a quick and dirty look at each dysphagia presentation I went to! Next I’ll talk about some TBI presentations I attended. I went to 17 presentations overall, so I have a lot to say!

NP: Joe Purdy – Can’t Get It Right Today

PS – slowdog wrote a great post on what he learned at a short course about physiology of swallowing at ASHAsphere. Check it out.


so excited! so delighted!

14 Nov

AHHH! I’m leaving TOMORROW (tomorrow? did I say tomorrow? YEAH. TOMORROW. I’ll say it again. TOMORROW.) for the ASHA Convention in San Diego!

I. Cannot. Wait. But also traveling gives me a lot of anxiety. As such, I’ve been ultra-anal-retentive lately. I don’t know if I’ve been Type A my whole life and didn’t know it, or if grad school did this to me.

Monty has a piggy sitter for the week. He’s been a real brat lately (yeah, guinea pigs can be brats. You didn’t misread.) So hopefully he behaves for Aunt Stephanie.

but seriously, how can you not love this creature? LOOK AT HIM.

I went through my NINETY TWO PAGES of itinerary (can’t spell this word apparently – thank you computer for having a brain when mine is already in San Diego). Anyway, I’ve narrowed down my schedule a bit. Here’s what it looks like now:

so much LEARNING

I called the hostel and confirmed. I’ve confirmed with the airline. Last week @klevs and I drove to the airport because we wanted to make sure we knew where it was. I’m completely packed (except for my makeup). I have to analyze a language and speech sample this afternoon, got some classes and some clinic, AND THEN I’M ROLLING OUT OF HERE. You can’t stop me!

Most of the posters and sessions I’d like to attend are either pediatric dysphagia, TBI, or PhD related. And then there’s some randoms that I want to check out like the one of vocal fry in college students because – uh – I have a lot of fry. Whoops.

YAH! I seriously am so amped up. So much so that I felt the need to split my infinitive there.

NP: The Show – Lenka



this is a post about nothing. and everything.

7 Nov

I wish I had something exciting to share with you guys but I’m in a weird, false-sense-of-security, lull right now. It’s getting to the point in the semester where I don’t have too much to do, but I know I WILL have stuff to do so my heart is filled with anticipatory terror.

The Pathways to Communication Conference was Friday, as such my email sending rate has decreased drastically. I gave my presentation on the use of PROMPT with adults without totally screwing up. So life is good.

Presenters and Coordinators at the Pathways Conference!


ASHA is next week and I’m so excited! But I also need to make sure my bases are covered here. I need to email my professors so they know I’ll be out of town, make sure my job knows, get all my class and clinic work out of the way now so that I’m not in a panic Thanksgiving week. I know we have a few more assignments for class but that’s never really a point of stress, it’s just school work – whatevz. I need to get treatment summaries wrapped up, start studying for finals, and figure out when the heck I’m starting my ECSE externship.

Instead of doing just a school and hospital externship, I opted to also do a third, shorter experience at an Early Childhood Special Education Center in Springfield. So I’ll be starting that right after finals, December 12th (I think). This means I need to let my work know that my last day is approaching rather quickly!

And then I will be a jobless hobo. Living off student loans and other handouts which I will readily accept.

Another issue I’ve got going on is where the heck I should live. I was planning on living in a single bedroom apartment in the CWE and it was going to be great! However, I’m planning on staying in STL for only the length of my externships, so is it worth the $4,000 in rent? My mother lives in Lake St. Louis, which is a 30-45 minute drive (on a good day) from either of my externship sites – which will suck but also cost me about $1,200 in gas. I won’t be paying rent (I mean, I will because I’m not going to just mooch off my mother for six months) but I may have to pay for storage for all my crap.

Basically if I’m doing the math right, living with my mom would save me $2,000. But I’d also have to drive a thousand years to get anywhere. And if I have my man-friend come hangout I will be sharing a wall with my mother. Is $2,000 worth the mental anguish of spending half of my life sitting in STL traffic and waking up with said-man-friend and my mom in the same apartment?


Oh, and my face has broken out in a way that I can’t even describe. I’m thinking about naming the zit on my cheek and keeping it as a pet.

NP: Kid Cudi – Pursuit of Happiness


omg so much fun

3 Nov

Look look! I’m creeping on the ASHA schedule to see if there is anyone that I need to stalk AND I’ve found people I know!

I feel like such a grown up.

I KNOW THEM!(I mean, not ALL of them - but MANY)

NP: Rihanna – We Found Love