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Sucking at blogging

21 Apr

You guys, it’s been almost a month. I suck. But seriously, a lot has been going on and I’ll tell you all about it!

1) The Job Front – things are looking up! I’ve had a lot of phone interviews and I’m working with the WONDERFUL staff at PediaStaff. They are rocking my world. I totally recommend contacting them if you’re on the job hunt! I would tell you more about which position I’m most excited about but I’m scared to jinx it – feel free to email me if you want to know more about PediaStaff or the positions they’re helping me with ūüôā I want to tell you guys more about phone interviews and I plan to do so in a blog post or so.

2) The Thesis Front – I should totally be doing edits right now but it’s fiiiine. Ha. I defended and got my thesis passed on Monday! Woo-Woo! I have to have the completed draft in to the Graduate College by Monday the 23rd (which is why I should be working on it…) If you’re working on preparing for a Master’s defense I recommend a powerpoint – it’s the easiest and clearest way to review your whole project and you can make sure you’ve got all your bases covered.

What's that? Oh just my signed thesis.

3) The Externship Front – it has been A WEEK at my externship site. I DO NOT LIKE INPATIENT THERAPY. Don’t. Like. It. Don’t make me do it. Please. Outpatient – I wanna do it all day long. LOVES the outpatient. But my supervisor just started floating between inpatient and outpatient and frankly, I am not comfortable in inpatient and I keep messing crap up. I know I’ll get better because I hate being bad at anything speech-related, but I don’t know that I’ll enjoy it more. My supervisor and I went over my midterm yesterday and she started that most of my skills are “emerging” – which makes perfect sense. It’s halfway through my time there, I’ve never worked in a medical, adult setting before – why would I be perfect at it? I wouldn’t. But it’s still hard to hear. As a group SLPs are kind of perfectionists and any kind of criticism tends to make us run and hide. So if you’re in your first medical setting and you’re not so comfortable my advice to you is, “Take a deep breath and remember – you are still a student. You are green. This is NEW. It is OKAY to not be perfect.”

If your supervisor has told you ten times to stop or start doing something differently and you still haven’t figured it out – that’s a problem. But try to keep in mind that you are there to LEARN.

4) The Life Front – got my car back! Boys suck! I really want to adopt this dog from the APA of Missouri. I don’t think I should get a dog because my life is a disaster but like…she’s so precious.¬† Her name is Peanut. I’ve seen her twice in person and I just want to put her in my pocket. I loves her. If you want to adopt her please do – and then let me come play with her. I contacted the APA about her so we’ll see, maybe I’ll be making an insane decision here in the near future.

Do you love this puppy or what?

My apartment is a friggin’ disaster. Did you see the picture on the Twitter? I’ll put it here. It’s nutso. And my friend Ellie is coming to crash with me today so I hope she doesn’t mind staying in a pig sty.

This is your brain on grad school

5) The Blogging Front – I just sent in my first blog post for the Hearing Journal so look for that soon! Also I’m working on a post for PediaStaff so look for that too :). And I promise to get back in the swing of things here too.

6) The Professional Front – recently attended Missouri’s Speech-Language-Hearing Association annual convention. We won Quest for the Cup! We are here and rocking your world with our brain power.


As always, I have a lot of thoughts after attending a convention and I’ll get into that later. But please please please please JOIN YOUR STATE ASSOCIATION. I cannot say this enough. DO IT. RIGHT NOW.

Alright I’m outta here. I need to brush my teeth and I’m going to see the Lucky One. It’s going to be terrible.

NP: Matchbox 20 – Push


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.)



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


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.



9 Jun

Don’t have much to say. But from the vault:

Last semester I was trying to think up long range goals for my client so I kept saying the phrase, “The client will…” over and over again in the hopes that some stroke of genius would come to me.

After saying “The client will” about 900 times, it starts to make you a little insane.

And I answered my work phone by saying¬†“The client will” instead of “This is the Office of XXX, how can I help you”


NP: Jason Aldean and Luda – Dirt Road Anthem


Nerd-fest 2011

23 May

Hey all my SLP ho’z

Who is going to the ASHA convention? Because registration starts June 15 and I am DEFINITELY going, and you should probably go to.

Here are the dets:

1. Save the date: November 17 – 19 (I’ll potentially be there from the 16th-20th)

2. Adonde?: San Diego (which of course in German means a whale’s vagina)

3. Monies: $200 for registration, plus hotel (around $80 a night), and airfare (from STL – $300, from SPFLD – $600).

4. Porquoi?: Well (a) because I said so and (b) because it’s important to be involved and (c) because I said so.

Listen, I’m going whether you are or not. But you should go because I love company.

PS – Last night in Joplin, MO there was a tornado, killing at least 116. Single deadliest in US since Worcester, MA 1953 tornado. Here’s how to help if you can: Here are pictures of the destruction: News Leader



18 May


Also I just noticed they misspelled my title – there will be no studious pilots involved in my project.


the path to speech-path

18 May

Throughout my life I’ve wanted to be the following:

1. An archaeologist

2. A geneticist

3. A biology teacher

4. A hairdresser

5. A fashion designer

6. A pathologist (yeah the kind that does autopsies – don’t ask)

I never really went through the whole “I want to be a fireman” or “I want to be a ballerina” stage. I’ve always been a little too practical for that. And up until my senior year of high school I, for the most part, planned on majoring in Biology and teaching high school.

I took Anatomy and Physiology my senior year and in my class we had to write major papers on ANYTHING related to the body (really? anything? YEAH ANYTHING). Since my brother had a submucuous cleft, I thought it’d be interesting to research cleft palate and lip.

And I was hooked. Continue reading


oh hello light, strange meeting you here, at the end of the tunnel

6 May

It’s Friday (friday friday) and I’m just hanging out at my place of employment. I should be writing my motor speech disorders paper, but you know, instead I’ve been watching hours upon hours of Parks and Recreation.

BUT THAT ASIDE, so many great things have happened!

Number ONE: I turned my IRB into my department head and then they’ll pass it onto the IRB Committee!! Woo woo.

Number TWO: I am wearing a fabulous dress that I got for my birthday!

Number THREE: Last day of clinic was Wednesday and I currently have 150 hours and I need 200 by next December. ON MY WAY!

Number FOUR: Last night I made delicious enchiladas for my SLP girls. And they were delicious. And then I drank too much wine.

Number FIVE: I’m heading home in an hour to help my mom move into her very own grown-up apartment! YAY

how cute is my mom? SO CUTE

I have my research final next week, and some odds and ends to take care of and then I can officially say I have completed the first year of graduate school! ONE YEAR TO GO BABY.


substitute judgment and intelligibility

4 May

Two things.

First, I really felt like a graduate student on Sunday. I went to the library to try to find a journal article and I had to go in the basement to the STACKS (dun dun dun duuuuuuuun). They were so sweet. It’s all of these talltalltall bookshelves that are snug-up against each other. And I’m all, “Uh, how do you get to the books?” Continue reading