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Clinical self-discovery. It’s okay!

21 Jan

Hey 2014, great to see ya!

It’s been two (TWO!) years since I started my internships and I’ve been thinking quite a bit on the narrowing of my clinical interests.

When I started my internships, I had no idea what I liked and didn’t like. I mean, I THOUGHT I knew (but we all know that’s silly…you have no clue until you get experience under that very cute belt you’re wearing.) I THOUGHT I wanted adult and hospitals. I THOUGHT I hated AAC (now we have a love-hate relationship.) I THOUGHT I wanted middle school students with diagnoses of ED/BD.

Hahaha. Thoughts.

I knew after my first internship that I loved working with the little children – you know, the weensy ones with the munchkin voices. I knew after my second internship that I did not want to focus on ED/BD. I knew after my third internship that hospitals are not my scene. Even after that, we still have quite an elaborate scope of practice to choose from.

So I got my first job and started my CF with a great, big, wide open caseload. Early intervention, bilingual early intervention, adult dysphagia, adult AAC and cognitive communicative therapy, peds feeding. Behavior, family coaching, communication strategies, group homes, ASL. Lions, tigers, and bears, OH MY!

When I started I was all, “Ohmygod I loooove it allllllll.” Now, a year and a half in, I’m seeing that I have clientele that I get excited about and things I look forward to and enjoy learning about. In turn, there are clinical things I don’t get super thrilled to death about. (Don’t get me wrong. I love all of my patients, but as far as clinical interests go there are things that I just professionally am more intrigued by.) (Was that a fragmented sentence?)(Sorry.) Since I would like to pursue the Ph.D. at some point, figuring out those clinical interests is a really important thing! I can’t stroll into a Ph.D. program and say, “Hey ya’ll – I like everything!” I need to find out what I love so that I won’t mind studying it for the rest of the foreseeable future.

So what do I enjoy? I love working with my Latino babies and families for language therapy. I love working with adults with developmental disabilities. I love adult dysphagia. I just wanna do those things all day.  Is there some communicative disorder where all three happen at once? Oh and I weirdly enjoy evaluations. Can’t really explain that one.

What do I sorta enjoy-ish? AAC. But not high-tech. I enjoy helping families use no-tech, low-tech strategies for targeting critical communication acts. (High-tech AAC makes me want to crawl in a hole. My brain rejects it. And the process for obtaining any device is the worst thing that ever happened. And it is just getting harder. And it is terrible. Run away!)

What am I unsure about? Peds feeding. It makes me so nervous. I don’t have a lot of practical experience and my book-knowledge is useless because it’s book-knowledge. Observation is an option, but frankly every child is so different there isn’t a ton I can take away from watching someone else do it. I’m learning as I go. Progress is slow (for me, not the kids.)

What am I pretty certain I don’t find particularly intriguing? High tech AAC! Adult acquired communicative-cognitive deficits pooooooooost-onset. School aged ANYTHING.

Part of me feels bad, about not loving it all. I have to remember that we ALL have clinical interests. That’s how we grow and develop specified skill sets. I can’t, mentally, love it all and I can’t know it all. I do truly enjoy interacting with and getting to know all of my clients. However, when faced with a puzzle, some situations get me all excited and riled up and I want to learn more. And I’m finding out what those exciting things are! Woo woo! Self-discovery!

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of Simon snuggling with his own tail:

He is sooooo cute

He is sooooo cute

Don’t be alarmed, we’re taking over the ship.

17 Sep

Whoa! Speechie off the port bow!

This post is in dedication to Talk like a Pirate Day (September 19th…of course.) The fine folks over at LessonPix asked the #slpeeps for some pirate-y themed therapy and we obliged (because we’re da bomb dot com.)

First let’s start by saying: LessonPix is AWESOME. I’m not just saying that because they asked me nicely to write this post and be part of their blogging hearties. I’m saying it because I DO WHAT I WANT, YO. What is LessonPix you ask, Dear Reader?

Well, “LessonPix is an easy-to-use online resource that allows users to create various customized learning materials.”

For serious – you can make SO MANY THINGS. It’s $36 a year, and in comparison to something similar (think in the ballpark of $400) I think it is WELL worth it. Especially since I can login on any computer – I don’t need a disk. For $36/yr I’m getting what – 11 years to the $400 one time price. (Obviously prices change and products change and therapy changes so don’t come crying to me in eleven years, that’s just a way to think of it if you’re having trouble with the cost in your brain.)

 What sorts of things can you make? I’ll tell you. Picture cards such as THESE:

Seriously. Do Not Copy. Or I will hunt you down.

Or you can create about a zillion other things. You pick the PIX you want, and the website creates PDFs with your material.

Materials Frankenstein

You can search what you need, upload personal images – it pretty much does all of the things. Which is awesome because I’ve got things to do, I can’t be hanging out in Paint all day trying to draw with my arrow mouse. I couldn’t do that in fourth grade and I can’t do it today.

Self Portrait

Anyway back to the pirates. I’m working for the MOST part as an Early Intervention Therapist. My caseload is composed primarily of two year olds (Yeah I didn’t know I had patience either, you aren’t the only one who is surprised.)

When LessonPix asked if I’d use their pirate materials to do therapy I was all about it. Here are some things I made:

Shapes treasure map

These are GREAT, because obviously I can put anything I need to in there. For a lot of my kiddos we’re working on receptive language – specifically identification of familiar objects/toys and following directions. So in the case of the treasure map up there, I put in images that correspond to a puzzle I was using in therapy. Then I can provide not only a verbal cue, but I can point to an image. Many of my clients require an extra prompt or two so adding a visual component is a great way to supplement cues I’m already providing. And since it’s on a treasure map, I can use these little guys to hop along to the next piece:

Me crew

If I wanted to do a themed therapy session with pirates, I could use the game board and a corresponding toy for a scavenger hunt type of activity. I found this in our therapy cabinet and it worked great for such a task:

Tis me ship

You can see that this toy has many components, such as cannon, helm, mast, spyglass, ladder, etc. While playing we could go over these vocabulary terms and then use the gameboard to prompt “giving” specific items or identifying by pointing. In early childhood therapy themes are often used so even if there was an ocean or beach unit, this type of toy could fit in nicely. And having engaging, novel materials to use with little ones is pretty much key to your survival so LessonPix really helps out with that!

I will absolutely be using LessonPix materials again, I think their product is amazing! My brain can’t even understand how the picture gets to the TV Screen so I have no idea how they’re making customizable materials out of thin air that make my life so easy.  Now all I need is a real pirate to help me cotreat…

NP: The Little Mermaid – Part of your World

Graduation Pictures

26 May

Hey ya’ll. Just wanted to share some of my faves from my Master’s graduation. It was really a nice day and the University did a great job taking the time to honor the Doctoral and Master’s students especially.

My girls!

 

This is like 1/4 of the class. It’s hard to get all 30 of us in one place.

 

Ridiculous

 

Chuckles, KatieK, and Me in THE CROWD

 

Done been hooded

 

This is how the Master’s hood looks when you’re wearing it correctly

 

This is what my face looks like when my family catches my attention during the procession

 

NP: Good Riddance – Green Day 😉

Dressing like an SLP

6 May

Dressing for clinic. Dressing for interviews. Dressing for work. Dressing for conferences and presentations. Some students, you may notice, have a hard time figuring out the difference between dressing nicely as a professional and dressing nicely as a party girl. We all have different taste and style, but we all need to make good impressions!

These are some examples of what I’ve been wearing to interviews and such! (Usually my clinic wear is khakis and a solid colored shirt and a cardigan…because I’m super creative that way.)

Button downs!

Skirt suit

Professional dress

Graduation dress!

Three piece suit

And after all that, I get to wear this in just two weeks:

Master’s hood and all!

NP: The Cardigans – Lovefool

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 🙂 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.

AWWW YEAH

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

pictures!

18 Mar

Here are some pictures related to my internship and such

Guidance books from the 80s

 

Teaching SURPRISE! from PECS

 

Ooooh. Looky what I got in the mail

 

This is a card taken from Webber Story Starters?

 

Monty, working on my thesis

i can’t sleeeeep

8 Jan

I have tried. No dice. What to DO?! Blog. Duh.

Life update: I’m living in the finished attic of friends KG and DH. They are super lovely and accomodating and without them I’d be living…no where. So basically I’m indebted to them for the rest of time. On Saturday the boyf is moving my storage unit crap to STL. Then I’m here for another two weeks!

This will be week four of the externship with my little bitties. Technically supposed to be my last week but I’m asking for more time because I AM NOT READY.

I succeeded in getting out of bed and going to collect thesis data, for anyone who doubted me. The best part of my project is asking people to “write a sentence” for the MMSE. I get the best sentences and people always look at me like I’m a weirdo at this request (I get the same look when I ask them to count backwards from 100, by seven. Dear Folstein and Folstein, NO ONE CAN DO THAT. Love, Sam). So far the sentences (or fragments of sentences) are,

1. I think this crazy.

2. I would like to make my way to Mountain Grove. (WHAT??)

3. I am going today.

4. The leaves are now all gone.

5. It’s not so bad here.

6. This is a beautiful day.

It’s like a MMSE poem.

I’ve been analyzing the data I’ve got. Nothing to write home about yet, but this weekend I plan to finish data collection and stats so I’ll letcha know what we’ve got going on.

My clinical director said to not start applying to jobs until March or April. However, two women I work with at my site heard this and were completely aghast. Apparently I should start like…NOW. I started fixing up my resume and would LOVE some input. Like, I have a LOT of stuff to put on a resume but my work experience and extra curriculars are basically irrelevant. Do I put those on there? I like to keep my resume to a page so I want to make the most of that page.

I’m putting my resume here so you can judge it:

Seriously, TELL ME WHAT TO DO.

 

I’m all about the constructive criticism. Please tell me what I can do to make this resume beautiful and miraculous. I want a JOOOOB. I also sent this to an SLP who I sort of know in Kansas City so hopefully she’ll have the hook up.

In unrelated news, I got a hamster. His name is Mr. Stoli Socks. He is a Russian dwarf. And he was a Christmas orphan. And he has a nibbled ear. And he is super cute and kind of mean. I think he is misunderstood.

"Oh hey guys. I am super cute. LOVE ME"

I couldn’t stop myself. HE WAS ABANDONED. Also, Monty needed a friend. He was getting tired of my shenanigans. Like I tried putting him in this hanging tunnel thing and his back legs and balls were hanging out because he is SO LAZY he couldn’t get the gumption to pull those body parts into the tunnel. Needless to say, he was none too pleased. The animals on the package looked so happy! But this is what he looked like:

From experience, I can tell you, this is an unhappy pig

This is apparently what should have happened if Monty wasn’t so lackadaisical.

You may be thinking, "That pig doesn't look more or less happy than Monty" and my answer to that is,"This pig's testes are INSIDE the tunnel"

I don’t put Monty and Mr. Socks in the same cage, but piggies and hammies are social critters. So when I put Mr. Socks in the ball and set Monty on the floor they engage. It is QUITE adorable.

In related news, I’m clearly insane.

While I’m an attic troll, my parental units are watching my creatures. Obviously my charms are many.

Since I’ve been back in Springfield, I’ve done the following: gone to hot yoga, gotten a spray tan, and attended a black tie wedding. Life keeps getting weirder and weirder. And awesomer. Also, I’m up to 252 clinic hours and 35 externship hours! Woop woop! 400 here I come!

I hope everyone taking the Praxis next week is having good luck studying! I know a lot of comps are going on as well. Keep your head up! We’re almost there!

I’m going to sleep.

more of the last day!

18 Dec

The truth: SLP is the prettiest major

see? I told you

would I lie to you? NEVER.

slowly losing our minds

Bonding in the clinic

Speechie Besties

some new grad school images

17 Dec

Using an eye gaze system Cadabbey and I wrote "I ZAPPED A MAN"

Your brain on grad school: I left the house wearing these penguin slippers

Last day of clinic - contents of my lab coat pockets

She kept every single client billing log and every single corresponding supervisor comment.

Last day pictures (there are more of these but JENNI WON'T UPLOAD THEM)

feeling unhappy about returning the lab coat

super unhappy

 

I made this to work on holiday core curric vocab at ECSE

Things I won't miss at the clinic: THIS PRINTER. GAAH.

this post is purely tangential

29 Nov

Just a list of rambling nonsense about my life. GET READY.

Totally overslept this morning because I stayed up late packing, so my brain is all muddled. LAME. However, my client was very compliant this morning and let me administer the CELF-P in peace so that was nice. The apartment complex that I want to move into called today and they have a one bedroom in the CWE for $570/mo available January 15. I was kind of set on moving in with my mom so NOW I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. It is literally a two minute WALK from my externship site BUT I’m only planning on staying there for six months…so that’s a lot of money to spend for six months. BUT IT IS ALSO KIND OF PERFECT.

Someone help me.

Ok. So I’ll make a pro/con list. Here it goes:

PRO

CON

Living in CWE and not Lake St. Louis $570/mo rent
Being a 2 minute walk from one externship and a 20 minute drive from the other (rather than an hour from each) $60/mo parking
Living by myself No money for a big move in May/June
Closer to friends Cheaper to pay for storage than to pay for rent
Not worrying about storage Avoiding the fact that one day I will HAVE to live with other people
Not waking up with my boyf and my mom in the same place

Basically the only con is money. It’s kind of a big con. SORTA.

Why can’t I just be a grownup?? I’m so ready to just be a grownup. I want a job. And a steady place to live. And a big girl bed.

Anyway, probably I can’t be a grownup because I do things like dress up my guinea pig for Christmas…

Monty is really the "bah hum bug" type so that shirt is totally appropriate

OH and, I missed the Pocket SLP booth at ASHA, so I tweeted at them that I was sad I didn’t get an “I LOVE SLP” pin and look what they mailed me:

Yay for Pocket SLP!

How much do they rock? Thanks Erik and other Pocket SLP staff!

NP: All That I Want – the Weepies