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Learning about Deaf culture

10 Mar

I owe Liza a post!

To start at the beginning, I took “sign language” as an undergrad. It was pretty much a VERY BASIC sign course where we talked a little about grammar and Deaf culture and learned a lot of nouns. I never used it functionally and lost most of it pretty quickly. As of July I had retained toddler signs, and that was about it.  I’m currently enrolled in a legit ASL course taught by a Deaf woman and it’s bad ass. But still, I’m learning a lot and by no means think that I can “sign.”

Anyway, things got interesting as my caseload expanded and I started seeing adults for AAC. A majority of my adults have developmental disabilities and three of them are Deaf. They had sign language interpreters attend evaluations as well as therapy
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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

how much scope is too much scope?

6 Sep

As you may have noticed, I’m in my course on dysphagia this semester. Dysphagia interests me greatly but I have to admit that part of me thinks, “Is this really what I signed up to do?”

I took on speech path as a major because speech and language interest me. I’ve taken a lot of classes on linguistics, communication, the English language, and obviously – communicative disorders. I absolutely adore therapy, especially that of early childhood artic/phono and adult cognition. For the most part I always envisioned myself in a long term acute setting or a SNF, though lately I have more and more considered ECSE as a potential path.

Previously, when I thought of myself working with adults I imagined speech and language therapy with dysarthria, apraxia, aphasia, executive functioning, cognitive-communicative skills, and the like. However, as I’ve gotten further into my graduate school program and talked more with people who work in the settings I always wanted I’ve noticed that they all say the same thing.

“A major part of my caseload is dysphagia.”

As I said before, I find dysphagia fascinating, but sometimes I don’t fully understand why I would be doing it. I get the logic – the aerodigestive tract is also the vocal tract and as SLPs we know about all of those muscles and structures and functions and so on and so forth.

But. I’m a speech. and language. pathologist. Even that name we’ve discussed in class as questionable at best because we aren’t just pathologists, we’re also therapists. So a better title might be speech-language clinician.  Or should we be called Speech-Language-Swallowing Clinicians? (That’s another post for another day. The semantics of our field is enough to make a person crazy.)

Dysphagia is scary. Trachs. Vents. Scary. I know I can do it – it isn’t a matter of possessing the skill set. I can do whatever I need to do, I’m a big girl. I have to wonder though, are there other people in other fields more qualified to deal with something that could be life threatening like a dysphagia? There are nurses, doctors, dieticians, ENTs, dentists, respiratory therapists – the list goes on. Obviously all of these professionals are on a team with us and we’re working towards the same goal but are we the best for the job? Are we stepping on toes? Who had dysphagia before we did?

Why is there not a specialty certificate for SLPs working with dysphagia? I feel this is such a specialized area of our field that there should be more specialized training than just a class. Don’t get me wrong – the clinicians that work with dysphagia know their stuff. They aren’t messing around, but most of their training is experience based rather than classroom or clinic based. We don’t go to externship sites with any REAL dysphagia work. Perhaps this is a case where an elective clinical doctorate might be more practical – it could provide more coursework, more clinical experience, and more specialized training for people wanting to go in the medical direction.

A professor I had once referred to the “tentacles” of ASHA – reaching out and grabbing up things like dysphagia. I don’t know that I agree or disagree with that, but with the seriousness of disorders relating to dyphagia I think it is an important conversation to have with colleagues, and with ourselves. How much is too much? When is it time to demand further education for our expanding medical scope? Can we hold our client’s welfare paramount in the case of dysphagia without more knowledge?

You can read more about the role of the SLP in dysphagia HERE! And share your opinion, I’d love to hear from people who are out there! I’m just a baby-child so my real world experience is limited.



16 Aug

Clinical Doctorate via ASHAleader

As someone who has seriously considered the idea of pursuing a doctorate in speech-language pathology these issues have crossed my mind more than once.

I find it rather frustrating that as an SLP I have to have a 4 year Bachelor’s degree and a two-year Master’s degree to be certified, and the doctorate is at least a four year commitment. Then when you look as associated professions such as audiology or physical therapy – they skip the Master’s part of training and receive a three-four year doctorate post-Bachelor. Their doctorate is shorter but mandated, ours is longer and elective. It’s like we’re punished for wanting to further our education. If the SLP doctorate became required would it be reduced from 6 to 3 years? Even a JD is three years and that is to learn the whole LAW. That sounds downright awful but after three years those people have a juris doctorate. Why does it take a longer amount of time, and as such a greater amount of money, to receive a comparable degree to the audiology and physical therapy doctorates? Is it some kind of prideful prestige thing?

“Bahaha my doctorate took three years longer to obtain than yours!”

All you hear about is the shortage of doctorates in CMDS professions but that shouldn’t be surprising when you consider the ten years of education needed.

Granted, in this article they point out that we likely won’t have to worry about a change in the requirements like AUD and PT had to deal with. But if you want more elective Ph.Ds, ScDs, and CScDs there needs to be more consideration for the life most people are ready to lead once they graduate. I want to get STARTED. I want to get out into the world. I don’t want to jump into a four year program after I graduated with my Master’s degree five seconds ago. And I’m not going to want to do it when I’m thirty five with kids and job and a dog and a white picket fence. I would absolutely love to teach one day and I enjoy doing research but I’m over it with schooling (for the time being). There needs to be more PR for recruiting and more benefits to really suck me in, because right now there are definitely more cons than pros. And I can teach, supervise, and do research without a doctorate of any kind – someone please tell me what the point is. Someone needs to explain WHY I should get any doctorate in speech-language pathology. Where is the benefit? What are the perks?

And not only that but what is actually available to me? Where can I get a doctoral degree that isn’t going to require me to move across the country? The state of Missouri has TWO programs that offer doctorates – one of which MAYBE lost their funding (from what I hear) (does anyone actually know?) and the other offers a PhD in speech and hearing sciences (NOT the same as a SLP-Ph.D/CScD). I think it is great that U of Pittsburgh has created a clinical PhD – but when can I expect to have one somewhere within 200 miles of my home? A CScD would likely be a positive thing, but the practicality of it is questionable – we definitely need more information and more debate. Get your feathers ruffled and start chatting SLPeeps.

Ok. I’m done ranting for now. I love you speech-path, sometimes your scope really baffles me though.

(Also, please read another view on this topic: slowdog)


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.