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The NSSLHA discount brain explosion!

21 May

I’m writing this because I was misinformed and I want to make sure new SLP students get the correct info!

When I was in undergrad, my CMDS program encouraged us to join NSSLHA – for the support, for the resources, and because of this great program: 2 years in NSSLHA and you get a discount for your first ASHA membership. It’s that simple! Join NSSLHA – it’s $60 a year and it is TOTALLY worth it. I joined (I think) my junior year and continued to renew my membership through my first year of grad school. By my second year of grad school I thought, “I got no money and I’ve met my ‘Two Years’ so it will be okay for my membership to lapse.”

Fast forward to my application for my CCCs: I call ASHA’s Action Center to get my NSSLHA number and was told to not expect my discount because too much time had elapsed between my last year in NSSLHA and my ASHA membership.

And I was like, “UHHH HUH? WHAT?”

As far as I knew – there was no expiration date on my two+ years in NSSLHA. No one ever mentioned that I basically had to be in NSSLHA at the time I graduated from grad school in order to get my discount. When I was in grad school no one ever even talked about NSSLHA – it was what the undergrads did. Right? Right.

HOWEVER, I was wrong! (As were a majority of my peers it turns out.) Everyone I’ve talked to thought you just had to be in NSSLHA for two years…at SOME point. After talking to an Exec NSSLHA member I was told that INDEED: you are SUPPOSED to be a NSSLHA member for the two years directly prior to applying for your CCCs!

Who knew?! Not me. I mean it says it directly on the website but I never even looked because why would I? Professors are never wrong! (Right? Hahaha.) (Also I’m not the brightest crayon in the box.)

So grad students – JOIN UP (like, yesterday). And grad schools – TELL YOUR STUDENTS. Encourage your students! Don’t just make NSSLHA about undergrads! This is important, yo.

And don’t forget about Gift to the Grad!

NP: Lisa Loeb – Stay


Undergrad – What to look for!

3 Mar

Howdy. It’s four AM and I’m wiiiiiide awake. I went to bed weirdly early because I felt crappy and now here I am, blogging and answering emails because…what else is there to do? (Eat.)

I got an email from a high school junior (Melissa) this week, asking me what to look for in an undergraduate speech therapy program. (Which may be known as any number of things: communication disorders, communication sciences and disorders…who knows?)

GOOD QUESTION! Never really thought about it since I sort of…fell into my program. But if I was specifically looking for a program, I came up with some things that I really liked about my program (Or didn’t like…though there wasn’t much to dislike.)

1) Class size! My undergrad was teensy. We had about 30-40 girls in my program. And consider, that’s 30-40 girls that I saw every day. For four years. So depending on your personality a small class size or a big one might make more sense. To me, small was better than other state schools that had 60-100+ students in the comm dis program. I got to know the girls in my class, some of them are my best friends. But also, small means cliquey. Small means getting to know EVERYONE (even the people that make you INSANE. You may sit by your best friend for four years, but you may also sit by someone you want to judo chop for four years.) In a bigger program there’s more of a buffer.

Another benefit to a small class size is getting to know the professors more personally. These are people you’re going to be asking for references and recommendation letters in three years. If they don’t know you, your letters may be rather impersonal and vague. I got to know my professors, I’m friends with them on Facebook, I give them big hugs at state conferences. If your class size is humungous you’re going to have to work very hard to stand out.

2) Do they have a NSSLHA chapter? We had one at my undergrad but it was sort of…disorganized. It was affiliated, but involvement was rather willy nilly and professors didn’t really push you to be in it. If you were in it, it was likely just because you wanted it to be on your resume. We did community projects and that kind of thing intermittently. But some programs have really cool NSSLHA programs! They have a lot to offer students, they support students, and they push students to get involved early. NSSLHA is awesome too, because if you’re in it for …two consecutive years (?) you get a discount when you become a grown up ASHA member. Which is sweet. So yeah, ask about NSSLHA. If they don’t have one or it isn’t well-organized, and you really like the program, get in there quick and help organize it yourself! I’m pretty sure National NSSLHA has resources to help students put together their local chapter.

3) Can you be a clinician as an undergrad? This was one my most favorite things about my undergrad program and such a bragging point for me in grad school! I was a clinician as a senior. And as a junior I was an “assistant” clinician. It was awesome! I had clients! Three to be exact. It was so nice to go into grad school with clinical hours already and clinical experience under my belt. I felt so much more confident and secure than many of my peers. And God knows, I love feeling confident and secure.

4) How else can you get involved in your department? I knew as an undergrad that I needed to get in there, get to know the professors, get to know our department administrators. I wanted them to know my face, know my name, and to like me. So I worked for the department – I started working for our admin assistant shredding confidential papers 2 hours a morning, 3 days a week, for a whole summer. Then I moved up in the world and started working for our professor who was in charge of the alumni files, so I spent a lot of time filing, inputting data, sending out surveys, etc. Then I started working for another professor just doing her general bidding (seriously, one time I vacuumed bugs from under her desk. I also opened her mail for her. WHATEVER. I’LL DO IT.) I spent so much time in our department it was ridiculous. But guess what — they knew my name, they knew my face, they knew I was a hard worker. And I made some excellent friends/colleagues/mentors.

5) WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO FOR THEM? My undergrad program had a lot of opportunities for research. Which is rare for an undergrad program so ask about it. As a junior I did research in a group setting – there was five or six of us. We picked a research project, put it all together with the guidance of a professor, and presented it at our university’s undergrad research conference. Then senior year my best friend and I did an independent research study, so the two of us picked a topic, did the project, and presented it at a local and state wide conference. It was awesome. And it gave me great experience for when I went to do my thesis in my Master’s program.

6) MELISSA! – I forgot something important: do they have an onsite clinic? Some schools don’t! And that means you have to go out in the world to do your 25 observation hours. Which might be good because it is more realistic. But it might also be super inconvenient. I honestly had ENOUGH going on as an undergrad without worrying about driving all over creation trying to do my observation hours.

7) @goldstein25 pointed out that undergrad programs don’t have to be accredited so I deleted this. But in its place I’m replacing it with this tid bit: if the school you’re looking at doesn’t have an undergrad SLP program, but you want to go to SLP grad school – you’ll have to “level“. Which means that you’ll have to take both the undergrad SLP courses as well as the grad courses. So you DEFINITELY want to find a university with a CMDS major for undergrads. Otherwise you might as well slap at least another year onto the 2 years for your Masters.

If anyone can think of anything else, please comment and share your ideas. This is just what my brain produced with minimal sleep.

NP: Brandi Carlile – Heart’s Content

I have things to say again!

4 Aug

My laptop won’t connect to wireless and I’m tired of blogging from my phone so I’m sitting in the library right now just for you!

I started my first ever big girl speech language pathologist job on Tuesday. As I stated previously, since getting your license in the state of Delaware is apparently near impossible, I’m starting as an “aide” rather than an SLP. This week I just did some observing, orientation, and training types of things.

2 days this week I spent out in the community with my CF supervisors. I have two supervisors because I’m working half the time with peds and half adults so it makes sense. Both days I observed peds home health and community services. I love it! I think I’ll really learn a lot and get to experience a really wide range insofar as disorders and cultural diversity. I’m living in Wilmington, DE which apparently contains 30% of the nation’s population in a 100 mile radius – so that’s a lot of different kinds of people all squashed together.

One thing I found interesting was that in some cases my employer uses a “trans-disciplinary” approach. They say I won’t be doing it right away and I gotta say, “WHEW.” For those of you who don’t know what I trans-disciplinary approach is, let me explain:

What happens is, that for whatever reason, it is determined that the patient you’re seeing NEEDS treatment from multiple disciplines but can’t see multiple disciplines. This could be due to time, parent desires, behavior etc. So the treatment team picks a main therapist who delivers multiple types of therapy. So not only is the speech therapist there for speech, but they might also be working on the child’s ability to hold a crayon or jump. The therapists all work together to help the main therapist think of strategies and techniques. Everyone makes goals for the child during a transdisciplinary assessment.

You may now understand why this seems overwhelming to me. Since I’m not an OT or a PT, I don’t know their technical jargon or their techniques! But one day, I may be the lead therapist. And I find this scary. Probably by the time it rolls around I’ll have worked and co-treated enough that it isn’t so scary, but the idea right now of providing OT/PT services as an SLP makes me want to run and hide! What do you guys think? Have any of you encountered this in your jobs or training? How’s it going for you?

In related news, I really need to step up my toddler-Spanish and my sign. I took Spanish for eight years but never really functionally used it, but with a population that is so diverse I will very likely encounter clients and families who speak Spanish (among other languages – Spanish is just the one that I know). I only took sign for one semester, I could definitely use a refresher.

Sometime I need to join ASHA but right now I genuinely have no money. I want to take advantage of the gift to the grad program and my NSSLHA membership, but I can hardly make ends meet. I reaaaally need a paycheck. Ah the perils of unpaid internships. Get excited folks, it’s really fun.

(The man sitting next to me just put his hands all the way into his pants and adjusted himself. I’m judging.)

And my fourth post on the Hearing Journal is up so check it out!


making moves

26 Oct

Two things:


What the heck does that mean? I’ll tell ya. You may have noticed our economy is a hot mess. As such, Congress is making cuts – including potential cuts to IDEA funding, Medicaid/Medicare, and putting caps on therapy. #yikes

Since NSSLHA and ASHA knows that you SLPs like your clients and you’d like your clients to continue receiving services that don’t cost eleventy-billion dollars, they set up a way for you to take Action!

It seriously takes a few minutes to make sure that your legislators know that we need support. Go to The ASHA Advocacy Page and it will send a letter to your representatives. You can also add a little note and picture.

Do it. For serious.

this is what I look like when I'm taking action

2) I love lists. Obviously. Anyway.

2) Tell me what you think.

This spring I may be giving a presentation at the annual MSHA convention regarding legislative issues and how they affect our professions and patients. I want to know what your concerns are and what you’d like to learn about! Please share. Feel free to privately email me if you don’t want your political thoughts sloshed all over the comments area.

NP: Miranda Lambert – Kerosene


our NSSLHA chapter is better than yours!

20 Oct

NSSLHA raised $260 through a bake sale to help @klevs12 and I go to ASHA.



MSU-NSSLHA is killing it!

13 Oct


Congrats to Region 8 NSSLHA Chapters for doing some great work in the community!

-Missouri State University in Springfield, MO raised $140 for Joplin’s Speech and Hearing Clinic (recently devastated by a tornado) through an Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt Fundraiser. They also raised $660 for the Children’s Network through Dance-Bear-A-Thon. In addition, they have upcoming puppet shows to teach children about various topics related to Communication Sciences and Disorders. Way to go Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders- Missouri State University!
-The LSUHSC-New Orleans Chapter donated shoes for the Soles4Souls program, who will donate the shoes to tornado victims in Alabama.

Has your chapter done something great for the community lately? Then email your regional councilor know so your chapter can achieve ‘Gold,’ ‘Silver,’ or ‘Bronze’ recognition.


the To-Do list from hell

4 Oct

Here we are in October. Last day of classes is December 8 – so I’ve got two months to make the following happen:

1. Collect data. The nursing home I’ll be doing my thesis in contacted me and said they’re getting consent forms back, now I’m just waiting for families to submit pictures so I can get started.

2. Service Learning. My University has a big ol’ public affairs mission so we often have service learning components of courses. This semester I’m volunteering at the Arc of the Ozarks for ten-15 hours. Sometime.

3. Shadowing. Before we start our medical externships we are required to shadow for seven hours. So I should probably go ahead and do that. So I should probably contact my externship supervisor. Probably.

4. Go to ASHA!

5. Go to MSHA Fall Workshops!

6. Go to Miranda Lambert! (ok so this isn’t really on my “to do” list. but still.)

7. Go to Pathways to Communication! Present on Acquired Apaxia of Speech at Pathways!

8. Turn in my apartment application so I have somewhere to live!

9. Give presentation to NSSLHA on getting into Graduate School and attending ASHA.

10. Do all my standard stuff: clinic, class, work, CSD-bonding, sleeping, blogging, watching Modern Family etc etc.

The end. I do a lot of lamaze breathing these days.

NP: Akon – Right Now


Shout out!

22 Aug

Our University’s chapter of NSSLHA has been doing a PHENOMENAL job of helping myself and an SLPeep get ourselves to ASHA. We so appreciate your assistance in getting us school-funds so we can go for less and potentially sponsoring a bake sale in our honor. You girls ROCK!

NP: Ryan Adams – Desire


be useful

23 Jun

hey boys and girls!

As you better know, there was a huge tornado in Joplin, MO last month. It completely destroyed St. John’s Hospital, an elementary school, a high school and did serious damage to numerous other school buildings. This is kind of our turf people, so step up!

Things the SLPs still need:

PRK pictures, play money, small massager for facial stimulation, therapy mirror, Pediatric Swallowing and Feeding: Assessment and Management by Joan Arvedson, See scape, listen aiders, magnifying glasses, object boxes, Like object box, Brubaker Aphasia Book, Cognitive Reorganization Revised, Laryngeal mirrors, ANY Pediatric items.

Send donations to: St. John’s Therapy Centers ATTN: Stacy DeSutter 1531 W. 32nd St., Joplin, MO 64804. Monetary donations should be made out to “Mercy Health of Joplin Foundation” and please put in the memo box that the money is for Speech Therapy.

Get your professors and NSSLHA chapter involved if you can! They are looking at $151 million to repair and rebuild for the schools alone. It can be something as simple as a bake sale.