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First Day of Clinic!

31 August 2015

The time has finally come for me to begin my first clinic placement of graduate school. Today was the day, and, like most people, I was filled with a plethora of emotions-- excited, scared, nervous, inspired. How will I begin to build my clinical skills in just 15 short weeks? Will I show improvement by midterm? Will my supervisor like me? After all, my supervisor holds some of my clinical success in her hands (by grading me). Luckily, the first day went very well! 

I should preface this by saying my program doesn't have a traditional on-site clinic. So, from day one, all of the students are out in the community. The first two semesters we go to our placement one day a week, and after that we go 4 days a week. This semester I'm placed at a medical daycare providing early intervention services to children aged 1-5 with medical comorbidities. This is actually right up my alley, as I've worked in a daycare for the past 7 or so years. So, I was (and still am) very excited to work in this part of the field. 

Since this was my first day, I wasn't required to do any therapy. Instead, she let me watch her and occasionally jump in to try a technique or build rapport with the children. I liked this, as many of the children were still working on prelinguistic skills, which I had no idea how to treat. I was also able to see how a typical session is run (since these are all play-based) and see what she does in the case a child doesn't listen. (Seeing that they don't always listen to her also built my confidence, as I was -- and still am-- nervous about how to handle that.) The day was also spent getting to know the nurses and office staff, as well as getting acquainted with where materials were. This is especially important, since we will be providing feeding therapy to some children, so I have to know where the thickening agents are located. 

Overall, it was a great day, and I'm a little less nervous to continue this semester. It'll definitely be a great experience since not many students get a chance to do early intervention or get experience with more medically fragile children. We'll see how the semester goes, though, especially since I will begin treating some children next week!

Let's Talk...Vacation! Linky

21 July 2015

This summer is just all about linky parties! Kim over at Activity Tailor is inviting everyone to link up and talk about their summer vacation, and I'll be doing just that!

I've actually had quite a bit going on this summer...

Check out everyone else's posts here!

First, I graduated... Yay! I now officially have a BA (Honors) in Comm. Science and Disorders! I received Honors (the real title is 'Bachelor of Philosophy', or a B.Phil, modeled after the Ph.D) because I did an undergraduate research project & thesis and did the whole she-bang of writing it (50+ pages) and defending it in front of a committee. Now, onto my Master's in the fall! We'll see if I do a Master's thesis! 


Then, I hung around my university until the end of May so that I could work in the research lab and go to my first conference! The conference was for the Acoustical Society of America, which encompasses any type of acoustics you can think of-- speech and auditory acoustics, underwater acoustics, architectural acoustics... there was even a presentation on the acoustics of roasting the perfect cup of coffee. Say what?! 

It was interesting seeing all the different talks on these various topics, although I mostly hung around those that related to speech and hearing. There were also several poster sessions, and the post-doc in our research lab was in one, so I stopped by to see how he was doing.

Over all, it was a great experience... so now I can't wait until ASHA this fall. It'll be my first time there!

My delegate and I! 

And why will I be there? Well, I'm now the 'Regional Councilor' for Region 1 in National NSSLHA! In late June I had my orientation at ASHA's headquarters and got to meet all the other incoming regional councilors and delegates. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about NSSLHA and leadership! So, my delegate and I are now extremely excited to get the ball rolling on activities and other things for our region (PA, CT, NH, VT, MA, ME, RI, Quebec and Nova Scotia.)... And one of the perks about being on National NSSLHA's Executive Council is that I get to attend the ASHA convention and help run NSSLHA Day! So I'll be seeing you guys there!

Since then things have calmed down a little bit... I'm now visiting my boyfriend who lives in Spain. I'm here until next Thursday. After that we'll both be traveling back to the US so he can visit for a month. (He's leaving two days before I begin my Master's program!) So far we've had several BBQs with his friends, gone to the beach, went to some town festivals and visited Bilbao and Durango (both in northern Spain, where he lives.)... Soon we'll visit his aunt and uncle who live near Burgos, and we might even visit Segovia where there are some Roman aqueducts!

What've you all been up to this summer? Will you be at ASHA this fall??

Summer Time Therapy Activities Linky!

13 July 2015
Check out the Link-up here!

What are two of my favorite things? Summer and linky parties! So, as you can probably tell, I'm excited to join Simply Speech for her summer-themed linky! Although I am not yet a licensed SLP (I'll be beginning grad school this fall), I babysit and work in a daycare, so I'm constantly working with children and trying to find a fun way to (secretly) build their speech and language skills in the process. These are some activities I've done with kids that I think would also be good for speech therapy! As you'll soon see, I love keeping kids active and away from screens, so here are a few hands-on type of activities that I like to do:

image source

- Bubbles- There's a good reason that everyone loves bubbles! First, now that it's summer, you can play with them outside and not worry about a sticky floor. More importantly, they are inexpensive and can entertain kids for a long period of time. In fact, I was able to entertain 4 kids for 40 minutes with bubbles one day! You can use the small bottles, or use the larger wands that come in different sizes depending on what you want to target. They're good for teaching directions. descriptor words, and even breathing control!

Image Source: Flickr (cc) Bugga Bugs

- Pretend Camping- This can be done indoors or outdoors depending on the weather. Children can practice directions by making a tent and making "s'mores"with the real ingredients not heated up or with toys. You can even add in sight words or articulation practice by writing phonemes or words on paper and taping it to the bottom of the toys. Then, just have the child put the sounds or sight words together as he/she builds the s'more. Another fun camping-themed activity is campfire songs! These can target voice issues (like talking to quietly or too loud), articulation or turn-taking.

Image Source: Flickr (cc) Tom

- Parachute- If you have a group, then a parachute might be great for therapy. Each color can correlate to a specific task that the child has to complete. So, say you have two children working on articulation and another working on using adjectives, then red can mean 'say X phoneme or descriptor word in 5 words', while green is 'describe two things in the room with your phoneme or descriptor words'. It's a simple way to combine everyone's goals while working on social skills.

Click here to see what other's favorite summer speech activities are!

Tongue Twisters for 'S'!

19 June 2015

 Here are several tongue twisters that might be useful for eliciting /s/ and even /sh/ or s-blends! Stay tuned for tongue twisters that can be used for other sounds!

1. I saw Susie sitting in a shoeshine shop. Where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits.
This one works on both /s/ and /sh/, and is a fun alternative to the classic 'she sold seashells...'!

2. Silly Sally swiftly shooed seven silly sheep. The seven silly sheep Silly Sally shooed shilly-shallied south.
Another one to practice initial /s/ and /sh/ sounds!

3. Six silly sisters sitting sadly sawing six silk sacks


Photo credit:

5. He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.
 Here is just a plethora of /s/ in initial, medial and final positions, and even some blends and CVCs! 

6.Denise sees the fleece, Denise sees the fleas. At least Denise could sneeze, and feed and freeze the fleas.

7.A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.

This one is perfect for working on some of those pesky s-blends!

Cringe-worthy TV Reference!

13 June 2015

So, this is why it is important that our media presents accurate information.

For those of you who don't know, I'm studying speech-language pathology, but I work in a psychoacoustics lab which studies the hearing mechanism and our perceptions to improve cochlear implant technology. These are wonderful devices that have come a long way since their inception. According the an episode of CSI, though, they cause horrible tinnitus that makes people go crazy and are still highly experimental. No. No. No. I don't know where they got their information, and they should've asked an audiologist for assistance. (The hit TV show ER even had an audiologist they consulted!)
What happened in this episode that made me cringe?

- The murderer would start to break down whenever tinnitus presented itself. Tinnitus can be painful and annoying, so I'm not denying that. What was bad was that we find out that he had cochlear implants implanted when he was younger and we wouldn't have known if they hadn't told us. Why? Because he didn't even have the external part on!!

-Why is the external part important? It's what allows the person to actually HEAR. So the murderer cringing and going crazy due to loud noises coming from the cochlear implant is invalid-- he's essentially deaf without the external part (unless he has some residual hearing in one/both ears). Now that doesn't mean he doesn't have tinnitus, but it's certainly not due to the technology since he wasn't wearing the external part.

-Along the same lines, they implied that the cochlear implant causes input to become very loud randomly. Cochlear implants can be like hearing aids in that once a noise is to level it can almost be too loud, but there are also other parts in it that compress the input to make it audible and comfortable... and they now also have volume control buttons! Plus, why would people use the technology if it makes noises and speech too loud all the time? People use them everyday and aren't constantly affected by the implant itself making things too loud.

Yes, it was experimental in the early days, but now they are widely used. CSI made it sound like they are still experimental and that not many people get them due to lots of complications... Wrong, many children and even adults get them and now most issues revolve around making them discern speech sources and music better.

So, people that work in the media industry, please fact check.