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Out of Hibernation!

07 December 2013

Hello all!

Wow, who knew a month could go by that quickly? As you can see, my blog went into a small hibernation... I had no idea my first official semester being in my undergrad SLP program would be this busy! November was especially hectic with numerous midterms (one class had two!), a visit from my boyfriend, research, Thanksgiving and now preparing for finals! Luckily most of my finals have been completed; I only have my anatomy and physiology of speech and my transcription phonetics finals left. Somehow my finals luck has continued and I have a Saturday final yet again. I guess I'm just destined to stay here til the end of every semester. ;)

This all comes with some good new though! I'm in the works of doing a guest interview for another website that's unrelated to SLP... It's for a blog by an american expat married to a Spaniard living in Spain. I'll be answering questions on my own relationship with a Spaniard! (That's right, I'm dating a foreigner ;) ) She has some great posts for expats/teaching English and just those interested in Spain. Check out her blog Y Mucho Mas

On a related note, I already have some posts in the works and am aiming on scheduling more. Since I'll be visiting my boyfriend over Christmas break, and not be busy with school, I'll have much more time to write posts and get some scheduled for the beginning of the school year!

Stay tuned!

An Eye for the Medical Side

11 October 2013

Upon deciding to enter this field for my studies (and eventually as a career), I had no idea how vast the options were within Speech-Language Pathology. Adults vs Pediatrics, School or Medical, bilingual therapy, neurogenic or phonological disorders... the list goes on. It impresses me with how diverse not only the settings are, but what disorders are treated as well. With that said, I had no idea of all the questions I'd be asked by others when I decided on this career. What is Speech-Language Pathology? What population do you want to work with? What setting do you prefer? Would you rather help Autistic children or veterans with Aphasia? So many questions, most of which I haven't begun to draw conclusions about!

Currently, I'm on a medical setting kick. Part of the reason I was drawn to this career was that there is some science behind it, and that you can help others without being in a school setting. One issue, though. It's extremely difficult to get into this setting without experience. Next issue: how is one supposed to get experience without having the qualifications to work there to begin with, especially while pursuing an undergraduate (or even a graduate) degree? 

Photo by Keerati from
Although paid jobs/internships are difficult to come by there are some out there. This may require some deep searching, though. Or, if you're lucky, you may find one of these jobs through the grapevine. In fact, most employers don't even publicly mention they have a job opening. Instead, they rely on their employees to share the information to limit the pool to pick from. That's how I came by an opportunity to be a neonatal hearing screener/ audiology assistant-- from someone I was working with in a research lab. And you know what? They only had the application available for 3 days after she told me. So once you hear about these you have to act quick! I'd suggest viewing the website of (or hand-delivering your resume to)  local hospitals, clinics or even Veteran Affairs offices. I was lucky that this job is within speech/audiology, but even if you can find a job being an assistant or clerical person in a hospital, it could help boost your resume as it's experience in a medical facility that you can draw upon in interviews.

See if your school has a club that volunteers in medical related settings or has a related mission. At my university there is a club that volunteers with children at hospitals, another that lets your volunteer at a regular hospital, Operation Smile, Ronald McDonald House, and a few others. Or, you can find places and apply to volunteer there. Medical-related volunteer positions could include: hospitals, Veteran Affairs, outpatient rehab, Make A Wish, and nursing homes.

As you have probably noticed, there is no end to learning in this field. Although this may not be an option for some, if you feel as though you have time to take some courses online, I suggest doing so. It's a win-win situation, as it will show graduate programs that you went above and beyond just learning in your classes, and you will gain invaluable insight into subject matter that interests you. There are some CEU websites that are free, some you pay a  a yearly fee, and others you pay by course. I prefer using as it's a yearly fee that's fairly reasonable for students and I have access to all their courses (without earning CEUs, as I'm an undergraduate student).
Other facets that you can gain knowledge are:
-Certifications: CPR, FirstAid, HIPAA, Blood Borne Pathogens
-Research through school, summer research opportunities, and hospitals/organizations

A major thing that I slightly touched on above is networking. If you are determined to work in a medical facility when you graduate and obtain your CCCs then you can never start too early. One way to do this is through your required shadowing/observation hours. It is suggested to shadow SLPs on both sides as an undergraduate, and I agree. There's no harm in seeing the other options and seeing how they run differently. Once/if you've decided the medical setting is for you, then try to observe as many hospital, in/outpatient, rehabilitation, skilled nursing facility SLPs and Audiologists that can. If possible, try to shadow some of the same people multiple times and keep in contact with them to build a relationship and build your network. Later on they can prove to be great references for grad school and jobs, and may even be able to suggest you for an open position in the future.

These are just some options that I believe could be helpful in gaining the knowledge, skill-set and network necessary for beginning a path towards the medical setting.

What are some tips that seasoned (or soon-to-be) SLPs and Audiologists have for undergraduates and grad students?

Bloglovin' Fun

24 September 2013

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I just love all the different ways we are able to connect now-a-days! I'm part of Bloglovin', and it's just such a great site to consolidate all your favorite blogs into one spot for easy reading. Click the link above to follow Look Who's Talking on Bloglovin' so you can get all my new posts in your newsfeed. :)

Time Is Flying By!

21 September 2013

Wow, were has the time gone? I'm already one month into my school year, which means it's mid-late September... how did that happen? Last I know it was the week before school starting, and I was setting up my research appointments and getting ready for classes. Is there some sort of time-stopping device? Or even one just to slow it down just a tiiiiny bit? Even having an extra couple hours would help!

Sorry for the lack of posts. I haven't forgotten about this or anything!! In fact, I've been trying to do an overhaul (starting when I switched over to this blog). The design was set to be done at the beginning of last week, so I was planning on having a nice "grand" opening, but that's been pushed back until this upcoming week. Once that is complete, we will be ready for an all new-and-improved Look Who's Talking! It'll be exciting!

Stay tuned and be ready for some more posts! I'm working on some currently, so they'll be set to come out in the upcoming weeks. :) Also, stay tuned for my new look! I think it looks great, so I hope you will too.

September Link Up

06 September 2013

It's that time again! The ladies over at All Y'all Need have posted the September Link Up with a nice fall theme, and I'm joining in. :)

School-ing: Well, I'm now *officially* beginning my school's Communication Science and Disorders program! I'm very excited and eager to take all of the information in. To begin my undergraduate CSD career I'm enrolled in Intro to Audiology, A &P of the Speech Mechanism (my school has one for speech and one for hearing-- we have to take both), and Transcription Phonetics. Hopefully my Linguistics background will help with the latter. ;)

Excited: With the beginning of the year come the annual club fair. I'm an officer in one and a member in another. I've decided to try to join a couple more clubs or volunteer orgs to just get more involved and meet more people! There are two in the lead right now, one lets you volunteer with children at the local children's hospital and at a day school for children, while the other lets you volunteer in any department at a general hospital. We'll see what happens!

Prepping: I'm applying to conduct undergraduate Master's-level thesis research. I'll be talking with my mentor on possible alleys for research and also starting to do some work in the lab for experience as of tomorrow! 

Trying: I have such a hard time figuring out good note-taking organization. This semester I'm trying a 5 subject notebook with a file folder for each subject for loose papers. Once the semester is over I'll try to re-write all my notes into separate notebooks (or just paper and put them in separate 3ring folders) for storage.

Be sure to click the link at the top to check out what others are saying for the Link Up!

CEU Course Review: Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS): Defining the Territory

03 September 2013

Over the past few months I've had some extra time for myself. (Woo!) How did I spend some of that time? Taking some of what I call "Student non-CEUs Courses" (since I can't get CEU credits being and undergrad)! I have finished quite a few and have more pending in my account. So within the next weeks to months you'll be sure to get more reviews. You can see other reviews I've done here.This time I "attended" the text-based course entitled "Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS): Defining the Territory" presented by Peter Flipsen, Ph.D. Jr., S-LP(C), SLP-CCC.

I think this is a splendid course that gives thorough information on defining CAS, as well as giving perspective on diagnosis and assessment of this disorder. He discusses the issues that are faced when figuring out what all is unique to this disorder, differential diagnosis, long-term risks existent with CAS and how we can go about  diagnosing/ assessing this disorder in children compared to adult Apraxia of Speech and other Speech Sound Disorders.With that said, it only touches base on treatment in the last paragraph. This isn't much of a surprise, though, as the title says it is only describing the scope of what CAS entails, not how to treat or manage it.

One of the major components of CAS that this course pinpoints are the unique characteristics that are presented in this disorder and how they can affect differential diagnosis. These are very important concepts to keep in mind when diagnosing a child with Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Some of them are as follows 1:

  1. Inconsistent Output- There are varying definitions of 'inconsistent', and he specifically states that in the case of CAS it is a lack of consistency when uttering the same word over multiple attempts. It does not mean pronouncing a sound correctly in one position and not in another or correctly in some words and not others.
  2. Transition Issues- This can be presented in a few ways, but entails issues with unnecessary disruptions or lengthening between consonants, vowels or syllables.
  3. Distorted Prosody- When a child has excessive and equal stress placed on syllables that don't need them. An example he gives is when a one half of an utterance/word has stress but the child places equal stress on both halves.
He also mentions differences and similarities between CAS and the adult version (Apraxia of Speech) and also between CAS and other speech sound disorders. Some of them I was surprised by, simply because I hadn't thought of those before, but they make sense. There are often issues with diagnosing CAS, especially with children younger than three. Some "characteristics" can often be viewed as relevant to CAS when they may be actually pertain to (a possibly co-existing) oral apraxia or dysarithria. It also is difficult to assess and diagnose since all tests were created before ASHA created their position statement for Childhood Apraxia of Speech, lending each test to only screen for 1 or 2 of the 3 unique characteristics listed above. He does list them and give other examples of possible ways to test each trait for a more full diagnosis. Flipsen also notes that diagnosis may be correct, but treatment plans are not fully comprehensive or tackle issues more pertinent to language, phonetic or articulatory disorders. 

For more information and details on his views of the background/genetics, possibly co-existing genetic/speech disorders, diagnosis and assessment of Childhood Apraxia of Speech, please read his text-based course. It provides a wealth of information on a disorder that hasn't been readily defined until the past decade. 

*Disclaimer: All statements are my own opinion and not those of the presenter or host website. These statement are also not a paid endorsement, solely my views on the material from the course.

1. Flipsen, Peter, Ph.D. Jr., S-LP(C), SLP-CCC. "Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS): Defining the Territory." Lecture. SLP Course Details., 26 Mar. 2013. Web. 2 Sept. 2013.

Icebreakers! Speech and Language Style

31 August 2013

The school year is upon us, and that brings in some novel faces. It's always good to get to know these newcomers and get reacquainted with the ones you already know. Of course, it's not always easy, and the typical "say your name, age and favorite X" tends to bring on the simultaneous 'ugh'. So, what are we supposed to do? We want to get everyone excited to begin the year and to trust you, but you don't want it to get monotonous. That's where some hands-on, interactive icebreakers come in! Here are some that can help raise the energy level and induce some laughter while promoting speech and language:

-Never Have I Ever- A classic game that can help make inferences and work on receptive and expressive langauge. One person begins saying "Never have I ever...X" (ex. 'Never have I ever gone to the pool'), and whoever in the circle has done this will have to put one finger up. You keep going around the circle until someone has 5 fingers up (one hand). It's a fun way to get to know each other by learning some silly or interesting facts about them. Make the facts as fun as you want (like never kissing a pig or wearing a tutu)! Great for all ages.

-Two Truths and a Lie- Another circle game where you say two truths and one lie about yourself. Everyone else then guesses which statement is a lie. Once all the participants have said their guess, the speaker reveals the lie. Sometimes they can be tricky or silly, so it keeps everyone entertained. Sometimes it's surprising what is the lie vs truth! This game is great for expressive learning, creativity and making guesses.

-Name Game- This is a slight twist on a classic game. Each participant chooses his/her favorite character or well-known person. Then, each person is partnered up (or can be small groups) and they take turns asking each other questions about their fellow partner(s) person. Once the identity is found out they ask each other why it was that they chose this person. What makes that person their favorite? You can then have them all come together and present their partner (or themselves) and why the character/famous person was chosen. If you want, you can even have them draw a picture of the person chosen to show to others when playing the game. These questions, introduction and possible picture are great ways to build questions, receptive/expressive language, memory and descriptive skills.

-My Animal- This game lets the creativity spill out and allows the participant to use expressive language. Each person gets a sheet of paper and draws an animal that describes him/her. It can be a made up creature or a hybrid of real ones and can be as colorful as they please. Whatever the person comes up with can be drawn. Want a cotton candy tail? Sure! A panda-otter hybrid? Yeah! Anything goes, as long as it describes the person. Once complete, each person must describe their animal and why it describes them. "It has a cotton candy tail, because I love cotton candy" or "Blue is my favorite color so I gave it blue hair" are examples. It's a fun way to get to know each other and work on expression!

What games or icebreakers do you use in your therapy for introductions? Please share! :)

Professional Network of a Speech-Language Pathologist: Occupational Therapist

23 August 2013

It's no surprise that most professions entail a multidisciplinary approach, and Speech-Language Pathology is no exception to this. Patients come in many shapes and colors and may require other professionals in their rehabilitation team. Speech-Language Pathologists must be ready to work with others to create a team that will provide the most optimal service to a patient. They may work with or utilize the knowledge base of numerous individuals or just one other professional, including: audiologists, teachers, different therapists, behavioral specialists, psychologists, physicians and others.  I've written before about the vital role an Audiologist can play in speech therapy, which you can see here.

Who will we talk about today? The Occupational Therapist (OT)

You might be asking why a professional who works towards improving someone's life and working skills through the use of physical activities would have to collaborate with a SLP. Well, they help those who are injured or suffer from a physical or mental condition that renders them unable (or with difficulty) to conduct tasks necessary to live and work. Some of these conditions overlap with patients that also need speech or swallowing therapy. An example of these conditions would be stroke victims, those with mental disabilities, traumatic brain injury patients, Parkinson's disease and those with swallowing/eating issues. Take a child with an eating issue for example. A child may not have the jaw strength to chew larger food pieces and requires both forms of therapy. During a visit, an occupational therapist and speech pathologist will work together. The OT will help the child gain the skill set and strength to eat, while the SLP checks how the consistency of the food affects the swallowing mechanisms and make sure all food goes down without the threat of aspiration. They will have to work together to find the best possible technique to help the child overcome the chewing and swallowing deficiencies. This is just one example in many where an OT and a SLP will collaborate in therapy with a patient.

Occupational therapists are just one among a smorgasbord of professions that speech-language pathologists will work with to improve someone's quality of life. I'll be writing about the plethora of others as time goes on! If you have any that you'd like to see, or if you'd like to write a guest post on working with other professionals in practice, feel free to contact me and we will see!

Humpday Hurrah!

21 August 2013

Rachel Wynn over at "Talks Just Fine" has called us all together yet again. She's decided to dedicate every Wednesday to celebrating something in the week that she wants to celebrate and is asking her fellow #slpeeps to join in! This will be called "Humpday Hurrah" and you can see more information HERE. It's all to promote a more positive outlook as we sometimes tend to post about our tribulations in social media. It doesn't matter if you're a SLP or a SLP2B, you just have to write about something that went well in your SLP career (or pursual of a SLP career) in the past week! It's going to happen every Wednesday and you can post if on your blog, FB or twitter with the hashtag #humpdayhurrah, catchy right?!

Let's see... something positive in my week has been figuring out my #slp2b classes and beginning my journey to conduct undergraduate research! I was worried about my schedule and reading all the papers to catch up with my mentor's research, but it's starting to look up! :)

Go ahead and share yours!
Photo Credit

On the Minority of Researchers (And Academia Faculty)

16 August 2013

Upon entering my university's Communication Science and Disorders department, I was often asked which side I was more interested in: audiology or speech-language pathology. Being that I love linguistics (the mechanics and components of language, not languages in general), I've always  leaned more towards the speech-language pathology aspect of the degree. I also just don't feel like peering into someone's wax-filled ear for a living. And I admit, there is more to audiology than that, and that is just an exaggeration that barely gives them credit for what they do.What I've come to realize, though, is that this isn't just a double-sided coin, in fact, there are several other sides to this degree as well. Most students seem to look over the options of research and academia, which, in reality, are an enormous part of our community. We are continually told to use Evidence-Based Practices, which come from evidence-based research that in turn requires those who do the research. Plus, there has now been a distinction between a Clinical Doctorate (CsD and SLPD) and a research Doctorate (PhD) to differentiate those who obtain higher education for working with patients and those who desire to do research upon graduating. All of this requires those aptly trained to teach and mentor us in the process of our academic and working careers.
Photo Credit

This thought process of not including those interested in research or academia in questions similar to the above should change. There is a special need for this since there is actually a lack of researchers and professors in this field. In fact, I recollect the day when I attended the orientation for my program, where my Dean urged us to seek higher education and eventually be involved in research or academia. So, not only is there a large need for clinicians, but even more opens slots for doctoral candidates and graduates.

Here are some reasons why all undergraduates should begin asking "what are your post- undergraduate plans?" instead of the heavily biased "what side do you like more?", and consider a career in research or academia:

-Growing need. Basically what this whole post is about: there is a great need for more researchers and professors in this field. You're already in a field where clinicians are needed, and other professionals are needed as well! So you picked a good career path. There's also the growing need of up-to-date research on new technologies and methods that are entering the field.

-More in depth knowledge. With research comes the opportunity to broaden your knowledge about a given subject that you are interested in. If you're like me, this is a huge plus, as I love to continuously learn.

-Another way to help others. Your research has the potential to aid others, which is the main reason people enter this profession-- they have giving souls. This is your chance to find assessment and treatment techniques that will benefit those who suffer from a disorder and to better their therapy experience. It will assist therapists in their work as well. Not to mention, if you enter academia, you'll be able to help the next generation of clinicians and researchers find their calling and gain experience.

-Retiring academia professionals. As my Dean told us, the professors in most universities will be retiring in the next 10-20 ish years. Many spots will open up, meaning they need qualified individuals to fill the spots.

-Networking. This will allow you to network to a variety of non-clinical professionals who are valuable resources. You can befriend other researchers inside and outside of our field who may know information you desire or that need assistance with their research. Many professors are also fountains of knowledge and continue to do research as well. Over all, these are a superb group of people to know and connect with.

-Mentoring. Throughout your Master's degree thesis (if you opt for this option), you'll have the guidance of you mentor to aid you with problems that arise. ASHA also has some mentoring programs that you can utilize during this process as well. Once you've completed research, you may also be a mentor for future researchers, if you wish. This can be done in the academia world as well.

"Free" Education- Most, if not all, programs for PhDs provide funding for the research necessary to complete your PhD degree. Some even give you working or living stipends as well. These are great opportunities to snatch up on! Who wouldn't like to go to school for free and having a chance to do research in an interesting topic with some extra money on the side? (Of course, you do have to toil on research, but it is a great learning opportunity, as I keep mentioning.)

Now, I'm not saying that you should go straight into research upon graduating. In fact, I encourage everyone to be a clinician for some years to find what questions are being asked that need research. Rather, I pose that text time you want to ask someone what side of the metaphorical audiology-vs-speech-language-pathology fence they are on, perhaps ask what their future plans are. And mention these two possibilities as well. You never know where life may lead you in 5,10, or 20 years from now. Simply including these options could open you, and others, open up to a wider world of possibilities. (Don't forget, you could also complete a Master's thesis rather than taking a comprehensive exam in some schools!)

August Link Up

08 August 2013

The lovely ladies over at All Y'all Need have posted August's monthly Link Up, and I decided to join in! August looks like it's going to be another hectic, but fun-filled month for me, so I'm excited to get things going.Luckily/Sadly, August mean that school will be starting up again (August 26th for me)! So, going with this theme, they decided this Link Up is B.T.S (as in Back To School) to fit the feeling of this month!
Buying: I've been desperately trying to save money any way I can since the school year and all it's wonderful expenses are coming up. This was working until I hung out with a friend, and one of our destinations was Michael's craft store... I haven't done anything crafty lately and once I saw those fuzzy coloring posters I instantly bought a few to relive childhood and relax before summer is over. I also found some nice small planners for my purse!  (Still deciding what big one to get...)

Trying:  After pinning a plethora of things on my "Yum Yum" board and ordering almost the same thing at restaurants each visit, I've decided to actually try my pins and order new things. To start this, I ordered the  Bourbon Street Chicken and Shrimp at Applebee's when I went out with my friend. It was slightly spicier than I would've liked, but still tasty!
(Bad flash from my phone, sorry!)

Speeching: I recently finished creating posters/flyers and a presentation for my school's CSD department, and I super excited to show them to my director! They have info on why to study SLP, why study audiology, why study speech and hearing sciences, extra information sources and why you should study at my university. They took quite a bit of work and editing, so hopefully they are all set and don't need any touch ups. Despite being finished, I'm considering making another version of some of the flyers that are more text-y and less pictoral, as well as another presentation... we'll see how that goes!

You can join in on the fun or just read what others are up to HERE. It's open all month!

Liebster Nomination!

05 August 2013

I'm very excited to announce that the lovely Michelle from Miss, Hey Miss!, a fantastic special education blog, has nominated my blog for the Liebster Award. This is my first nomination for any award, so I feel very blessed and honored!

So, what is the Liebster Award? Well, from my German language knowledge (that is sadly diminishing), the word "Liebe" means love, so 'Liebster' goes along the lines of 'sweetheart', 'dearest', 'beloved'. Cute meaning for an award, right? And it's main purpose is to help you get to know others in the blogging community! Of course, you don't just get to have your heart melt thinking about the meaning of "Liebster" to receive it. Michelle gives a good summary of the rules, which are [1]:

1. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees by commenting on their blog or sending them an email to communicate the nomination.

Michelle's Questions For Me:

  1.  What/Who made you decide to be a teacher?
    Ever since I was little, it's been instilled in me to help others, be it helping with BINGO at a nursing home to making care packages for children around Christmas. Once I was at the age to work I began babysitting and then working at a daycare, so my whole working 'career' has been surrounded by children and helping them. They are just so funny and amaze me with how fast they learn, so I knew I needed a career with children. I later found my love for language and felt the need for a job where I'd be helping others... so I've found that I could combine both by becoming a Speech 'teacher'/therapist. :)
  2.  Where did you grow up?
    I grew up in a nice, small-ish town about 40 minutes Northeast of Philadelphia. It's quite a nice area with trees, parks, and lakes nearby. My house is actually over 130 years old, and is on one of the first streets of my town, giving it added antiquity. (I love old things!) 
  3.  What is your favorite holiday?
    Oh man, this is somewhat of a toughy. It's not exactly the holiday itself, but I love Christmas time. Just the winter air, joyous feeling and Christmas lights make me feel all warm inside (along with the hot cocoa and toast)! I don't really care about the gifts, but more the atmosphere and being with family.
    Side note:
     Is hot cocoa and toast a regional thing? Some of my friends don't even know about the deliciousness of toast dipped in hot cocoa!
  4.  On Pinterest, what board to you pin to most frequently?
    Ayy, another toughy. It depends on my mood, but I'd say it's a tie between my SLP related board "Speech Speech Speech" and the one dedicated to my love of food, "Yum Yum".  (I promise not all of my boards are repetitions of a word.)
  5.  Google, Yahoo, or Bing? Other?
    I'm a Google-er! I hate strongly dislike the layout of Bing, and will occasionally use Yahoo, but Google just trumps them! (Doesn't help that I just have to type in a term in my URL bar and it goes to Google.)
  6.  What kind of vehicle do you drive? Does this say anything about your personality?
    Sadly, I don't own my own vehicle. As for now it's parents car or public transport, so I guess that shows I'm somewhat frugal? Haha. My dream car, although not practical, would be a Ford Model T... I just love the look and antiquity of them. :)
  7.  Do you have any special talents?
    I'd like to say I'm a self-professed monkey, as I used to prop myself up in the doorway between my kitchen and living room. I'd even talk on the phone like that! (Sadly, I can't fit there anymore.) To further this statement, I will occasionally open the fridge or pick things from the floor with my toes, aka "monkey feet". I can also make my tongue touch my nose and make one eye look inward while the other looks up. 
  8.  Mechanical pencil or old school #2?
    Never thought about this really... I do tend to go for mechanical just because you can refill them and don't have to sharpen them. The downside is that those darn erasers can wear down or fall off easily, so I will bring an eraser. I also bring old school #2 to scantron tests just because I'm paranoid about the wrong lead type being used. Silly, I know.
  9.  When you were a child, what did you 'want to be when you grew up'?
    This changed many times. I've wanted to be a teacher, vet, speech-language pathologist, marine biologist, geneticist, gymnast, translator...I even considered Cirque Du Soleil when I was super little! 

Random Facts

1. My brother and I were such monkeys that we'd race each other climbing up the water pipes in my house to see who'd reach the ceiling first. It's even videotaped.
2. We used to own a goat, whom my mom once walked, yes, walked,  to school for my Kindergarten "Bring Your Pet To School Day". Luckily he was just a tiny kid at that point.
3. I've had over ...19(?) pets in my life. The most we've had at one time, I belive, was 9.
4. I tried to do track and field in 7th grade. At this point I wasn't even 5 feet tall yet, maybe 4'9''. Needless to say it only lasted 2 weeks as the hurdles were at my waist/chest and the lowest the high jump could be was 4'9'' while ON TOP OF a huge foam mat.
5. I once fractured my wrist when jumping from a picnic table to hold on to a metal clothes line. After a few successful attempts, I guess I just landed the wrong way. My mom, who used to be a nurse, didn't think it was broken as I could move my fingers... still hurt the next morning, went to the doctor, sure enough it was!
6.  For some reason I love and want to visit Georgia, even though I've never been there.
7. I want to visit New Orleans, but considering my name is Katrina and they are known for voodoo around there, I'm slightly weary of visiting. Silly, I know.
8. I did make up for my namesake hurricane though! I volunteered in Mississippi rebuilding houses with my youth group.
9. My brother and I used to race each other to see who could finish an entire Philadelphia cream cheese bar first. Yeah, you read right, an entire bar.
10. I love to write and occasionally write some book ideas down.
11. I'll admit that I have some guilty pleasures on TV. Two of them would the The Real World and The Real World/Road Rules Challenge. It's entertaining to see how they all act and I love seeing the challenges that are done.

Questions for Nominees

1. Who is your favorite author (or favorite book)?
2. Mustard or ketchup?
3. What is a guilty pleasure of yours (food, show, activity...)?
4. What is one language you wish you could be fluent in?
5. If there was one thing you could do again, what would it be?
6. What's one thing you miss from 'the good ol' days'?
7. What is your all-time  favorite recipe/food?
8. Favorite or least favorite form of transportation?
9. What would you do for a Klondike bar?
10. Who do you look up to the most?
11.Which item are you more likely to lose: wallet, phone, accessory, camera or keys?


~Michelle at Speaking of Kids- A wonderful blog on pediatric speech-language therapy aimed at clinicians and parents, with some extra info on hearing loss.

~Courtney and Lauren of The Talking Owls- Two school-based speech pathologists with lots of wonderful ideas on organization and activities.

~Andy over at Gosh That's Neat!- An Occupational Therapist who blogs about a variety of information on disabilities and therapy.

~Elsy, the writer of Just Another Speechie- An awesome SLP working in Australia with the pediatric population, writing on topics pertaining to therapy and app reviews.

~Julianne of Something To Talk About- A previous Early Intervention SLP, now school-based therapist ready to share her organization tips as well as games, books and ideas for therapy.

~Jill who writes Life Is Just Speechie!- Grad student writing her way through school about the trials of grad school and inspiration for therapy plans.

~Julie, the woman behind Wide World of Speech Therapy- Thoughtful discussion and materials for therapy from a woman who has been in a variety of settings.

~The wonderful writer of The Peachie Speechie- A blog created to share hands-on activities and creative crafting ideas to use in speech therapy.


Welcome! Bienvenido! Willkommen! Bonjour!

31 July 2013

Hello, hello! Welcome to the new, improved, and soon-to-be visually pleasing Look Who's Talking (Formerly, the SLPeech Bubble)!

 I'm very excited to begin blogging and connecting to everyone on this new site. Luckily I was able to import my old posts onto this site, so you won't have the hassle of having to visit the old page to read any posts you found helpful. I'm still in the process of bringing over all the posts I had archived for "SLP Skills Saturday" and "What's Up Wednesday" (NOW called "Musing Monday"). Hopefully that process will be completed within the next week along with any extra alterations or additions. I do hope to also archive/showcase some posts from different categories (like "Grad School", "Opportunities", etc) for easy access. That way you wonderful readers will have an easier time viewing posts that pertain to an interest of yours. As my knowledge base grows, I will hopefully expand those categories as well.

Besides asthetics and a name change, I have some new ideas that I'm eager to try out in the upcoming months... so be on the look out!

-Trina from Look Who's Talking


22 July 2013

Hello all,


I've been thinking about revamping my blog for the past month or so, and now that I've caught the creative bug, I'm finally acting on it! As you can see above, my blog will now have a new name, logo, layout and even location... It looks as though a multitude of SLP bloggers use Blogger, and after looking over the pros vs cons, I believe it's the best place for my blog as well. So hopefully there's some room over there for silly little me, too!


As of right now, I'm still in the process of switching over and finding that perfect design. (I'm so darn picky!) But I'm starting to narrow my ideas down. Once I'm fully moved over there I'll let you know and give you all the deets so you don't miss any posts! I'll also publish a post on all my social media platforms to stay connected as well.


Sorry for this change, and any inconveniences it may cause, but hopefully you'll enjoy my "new" blog!


Have a great day and stay safe in this heat!

The 1000 Piece Puzzle: Picking Your Perfect Grad School Pt. 2

19 July 2013

As promised, here is the second edition of hints for picking the pieces to finish your grad school puzzle. These are in no way to be weighed less than the previously posted characteristics for deciding on which programs to apply to/ attend. In fact, some of these may need more consideration than the others. Of course that is for you to decide, but if you wish to see the other list for comparison, then click here. There has also been great comments from others about factors to consider, so be sure to check it out. :)

Here is the second list of items that you may want to chew on (but don't accidentally aspirate on them, please.):

-Opportunities Available: Most of these come down to money, but some come somewhat hand-in-hand with that along with educational gains. Research Assistant - If you wish to engage in research with a professor, make sure the school allows for this. After that, check to see if any faculty are currently open to supervise a student researcher. Most teachers have a limited number of slots for RAs, and those spaces often go to doctoral students. Graduate Assistant - Does the school also have spaces for graduate assistants?  Do they give preference to certain students? The school I currently attend for undergrad only allows alumni undergraduate students to be graduate assistants for the department. Student Teaching/ Teacher's Assistant - are there opportunities to student teach or be a teacher's assistant? These could be viable options. They also are great building blocks for your CV and may help with getting a CFY. On-Site Clinic - Some universities don't have on-site clinics. This may not be a huge issue, but having one may provide another site for possble work. Some universities have clinics in which students can work. Student Teaching.

-GRE or MAT accepted: Although the majority of schools accept the GRE, some will accept the MAT as well. For some applicants this isn't an issue, but for those who are not great at timed standardized tests, this can be a huge benefit. Most that do accept the MAT accept it in conjunction with the GRE, though. Luckily, there are some programs that don't require the GRE, or just a lower score is accepted. For a list of these schools, click here.

-Clinical Placements: This one is another multi-colored puzzle piece. First, as mentioned above, is there an on-site clinic? Some studente prefer having an on-site clinic available as a back up if off-site clinic placements don't work or just for further experience and education. Second, what clinical placements are available? If you are interested in aphasia, are there clinical placements available that may have aphasia placements? What about bilingual/multi-cultural populations? Are there outpatient or inpatient facilities if you're interested in those? Make sure placements that you want are available.

-Research vs Clinical Orientation: There are some schools more research-oriented than clinically-oriented. This may impact your education and placements or opportunities/funding. This may take some dumpster-dive-type searching, but it's good information to know.

-Medical vs Educational Based: Many, many schools are geared towards education setting clinical education. There are few that actually focus on, or are more geared towards, the medical setting. This doesn't mean both school types don't offer clinical placements in the other setting or that if you go to one you will have great trouble finding jobs in the other sector, but you may be more well prepared for the specific setting. As far as I know there are a limited number that are medically based, of which you can view a list here. Also, the University of Pittsburgh offers a Clinical Doctorate (CScD) degree that's medically based. You can find that (and 2-3 other 'SLP clinical doctorate' degrees (SLPD)) on ASHA's EdFind, although I'm not sure if the others are medically-focused.

-Specializations/Certificates: Generally, most schools have some sort of specialty. Gallaudet has Deaf Studies; Penn State is known for AAC. Depending on your interests you may want to find a school that fits that. On top of that, some schools offer Graduate Certificates in certain studies. You may want to check into that as well, as they can give you valuable knowledge.

-Program Start Date/ Program Length: There are some programs who have Winter, Spring or Summer start dates. A good amount of these are online programs, but there are a some on campus programs who begin at these unconventional times as well.  I've also heard of a handful of schools with alternating admissions, admitting students every other year. You also may want to consider program length. This mostly pertains to those without a CSD degree or opt to do online programs, as these generally take an extra semester or two.

-Accreditation: Lastly, and what I would argue is the most important piece of the puzzle, the one that ties everything in, is accreditation. MAKE SURE IT IS ACCREDITED by The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). If it'snot accredited by this, ASHA  will not recognize your degree. To find those that ASHA recognizes, you can search for schools viaEdFind.

Once you've put the puzzle together and found some viable schools that can fit into it, talk to current or past students. You can find some on the Facebook, GradCafe, and Twitter groups. You can view my post on social media

If you have any hints, tips or pointers as to how you decided between schools, please feel free to share as well!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240"]education education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)[/caption]

for places to connect to people. You can also attempt to find professionals taht supervise clinicals for your prospective schools-- they can give insight on how well prepared students are. This may be harder to do, but worth a shot.

Will Work For Reimbursement

16 July 2013

It's not question whether higher education is outrageously expensive or not, especially for those who pursue careers that require more than a Bachelor's degree, like Speech-Language Pathology. Throughout my search I've seen some schools charge as much as $60,000+ for the 2.5 or so years of extra education needed for this field. Sorry, there's no way I can begin to afford even thinking about the debt from that. For that to remotely even out I'd have to either run away to the circus with a dancing monkey, or pray that I managed to get a crazy scholarship amount of 50% or more in order to attend. Well, maybe I got a little carried away there. Some schools do hand out scholarships of up to 75%, which is great. Despite that, it's a slim chance I'll be getting that high of an amount. There's also the fact that more money is handed out to doctoral students, slimming those chances even more.

Luckily, for those who are willing to put in some extra "time" and work, there are some other options for funding. There are some scholarships and grants available, but I'm not here to discuss those today. Instead, I've come across some unique opportunities for finding the needle in an intimidating large haystack that is limited educational funding.

First: State Department of Education Scholarships. There are several states, like New York, whose Department of Education will pay you to get your Master's degree[1]. The catch? Well, there are quite a few, nothing outlandish, but things to consider[1]:

  1. For the NY Dept. of Education (and most likely all other participating state's education departments), you must attend one of the schools they designate as an affiliate of the program, all of which are in-state.

  2. You must accept your spot in one of the schools before you are told if you receive the money. This may not be an issue for some cheaper schools, but those like New York Medical College, where tuition is quite a bit higher, this can be a problem for some. (But if you get the scholarship, then no problem!)

  3. I should've mentioned this first. You have to go through an application process. It's not simply an apply and you will receive the money. There's paperwork and interviews and such.

  4. As part of the agreement, after you are finished your education, you must serve at a high-need school for X amount of years. This may vary by state; I believe it was 6 years for New York. I'm not sure if they assign a school to you or you get to pick from a list.

Second: Federal Dept. of Education Scholarships. This one I know less about, but I'll tell you what I do know. It's similar to the state scholarships in that they will payfor your education. In addition to that, your end of the deal is working 10 years in a high-need school[2]. Other than that I'm not sure how the process goes or what universities take part in this exchange.

Third: US Military. There are a couple of ways that I'm aware of for this. You may either complete ROTC while in college so that you may study while training and then do reserves or active duty for some years after. Or you may do training/ reserves/active duty before you enter into college, that way you can focus on education later.  (There is the option of school then military, but I'm not sure if they reimburse your education that you do prior to your involvement in the military.) [3] Both options require serving for some time. Some people actually stay and become an officer and work for the military in their respective field.

Fourth: Unique University Scholarships/Grants. Some schools may give you a stipend, pay some of your education or pay all of your education if you partake in a program of theirs. One such example is a grant offered by Western Carolina University where graduate SLP students take 18 extra credits for training that covered the topic of providing SLP services to children with severe disabilities. As part of the agreement students "receive one year of in-state tuition and some professional development," while in return they "commit to serve people with severe and other disabilities for two years and to mentor at least five people in communication services for people with severe disabilities.[4]" You may want to check into universities that interest you to see if they have any grants or scholarships similar to this.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240"]mini graduation cap on money mini graduation cap on money (Photo credit: SalFalko)[/caption]

Fifth: Other. There are several other loan repayment options that are available. Some are available for those in the medical sector, others for educational settings. Many states have loan repayment programs as well. For a list of these, and other possibilities, check out this article's compilation of money-savers[5]. ASHA also lists MANY options for loan forgiveness and the like, so you might want to take a look [6]. There are also different funding options available by state, which you can view here [7].

Of course there are pros and cons to all of these options. It's up to you to figure out what yours are and which ones weigh heavier than others. Hopefully one of these, or receiving scholarships from your prospective schools will help your financial woes. Best of luck to all applicants!

Do you know of any other 'random' or 'unique' graduate school funding opportunities? Perhaps a business hat may offer scholarships in exchange for working several years for them? Or certain states/schools will give in-state tuition to out-of-staters in exchange for something? Or, better yet, money without any catches? (Doubt it, but worth a try! haha)

References/ Sites:

1. Scholarships, Incentives and Special Programs. (n.d.). Teach NYC. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from

2. I actually am unable to find the site for this. Bad me, I know. Once I find it I will add it here!

3. Speech-Language Pathologist- Military Options. (n.d.). Career Profile. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from

4. Peck, M.  & Lamb , H. (2013, February 01). Student's Say: Why Take 18 Extra Graduate School Credit Hours?. The ASHA Leader. Retrieved Jusy 14, 2013, from

5. Kinsey, C. (2013, April 15). Student Loan Forgiveness on ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from

6. Finding Financial Aid. (n.d.). American Speech-Language-Hearing Association | ASHA. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from

7. How to Pay For College. (n.d.). The Debt-Free College Guide - Retrieved July 14, 2013, from

The 1000 Piece Puzzle: Picking Your Perfect SLP Grad School

13 July 2013

Ahh, the joys of being a junior in the education system again. This period in anyone´s education career, high school or undergraduate, can bring on many questions and fears, as well as anxiety and excitement about the future. At least I can say I´m 'experienced´with this, as it´s my second go around. I get to have to fun of diving into the university searching once again, investigating the options and questioning them later on until I´m certain Ive picked the best ones. At least I have figured out my passion in life and now it is simply finding the best school for my needs and interests, so that helps take a load off my short stature.

There are some similarities in looking for an undergraduate and graduate program, which do make the process somewhat similar and easier to navigate. But as with everything, even grad school searching presents some new challenges as well, such as: Do the ratings count? Medical or Educational focus? What makes a program superb and-or well-known? Are smaller, lesser-known schools just as good? What about online programs? ... and I can probably list 100 more questions that have been gnawing at me since I began my search. (I´ve even had some dreams lately regarding graduate school. So the ´fun´just doesn´t end!) ... Before you begin to worry, I´m completely fine! It´s simply that my mind loves to keep on thinking, even when my body wishes it´d rest for some well-deserved, non-SLP related sleep.)

I´m certain others are are in the same situation as myself, anxious to begin their search and visit programs, so I´ve complied a list of characteristics that may help narrow down one´s higher education pursuit and create a humongous, personalized grad school puzzle.

-Location: There are actually quite a few things related to location that might weigh heavily in one´s decision on graduate school. First: the type of environment the school is in. Some may prefer city life or suburban/rural. And even within that... you may want the suburban feel, but with access to a city for entertainment and clinical opportunities. For me, I know I´d like to stay in the Eastern US due to proximity to family (although going abroad would be sweet). Second: Climate. Each area of the US and Canada is home to it´s own climate. If you´re a hot-weather-lover from Florida who hasn't seen snow in your life, perhaps attending a university in Canada or New Hampshire isn't for you. Even along that, you may be accustomed to Pennsylvania´s humid heat, but not Arizona´s dry heat. Third: Connections. Some opt to attend a university in the general area where they wish to work and live beyond graduation. This is great for building local professional networks before graduating!

-Online vs In Person: Similar to the location puzzle piece, you may want to consider if you are able to travel and live in a different setting than you are now. Would you rather stay home, find clinical placements in your area and be near the ones you love? Maybe you have a family to take care of and your partner has a steady job that you'd rather not leave. Keep in mind, you may have a higher aptitude for learning in-person than online, or you may not have the self- motivation for solely studying online. Also, due to the increased popularity in online programs over the past few years, they have become quite competitive to be accepted into! Some are also fairly expensive, and don't allow for research or other educational/funding opportunities.

-Results: Check the program's outcomes on the Praxis, employment and graduation rates. How many of each cohort graduate, pass the Praxis and are employed after obtaining their CCC's. These are indicators of how well-prepared their students are with the education the school offers.

-Size of Program: There are two things under this category that go hand-in-hand: school size and cohort size. Do you want to attend larger or more well-known university? Does having a more recognized school on your resume matter to you? ...What about the number of students in accepted into your cohort? Each program allots for a certain number of acceptances, and even then only a fraction of those attend. Cohorts are generally small in this field, but they can still range from something small like 15/20 to a 'larger' group of 30/40 (some may be larger, I'm not sure.). All cohorts have their own sense of a family and level of tight-knittedness, depends on how large of a group you feel comfortable with!

-Faculty-Research: Make sure the faculty are interested in the same disciplines as you are, especially if you want to research on the side. By having faculty interested in similar things you are, you are open to a wealth of knowledge that you can access and present questions to. If you wish to learn more about bilingual populations but no one in your school is well-versed in that, then how will you gain the knowledge you need to work with that population later?

-Cost: For a number of graduate students this is a major issue. Most schools have a lower in-state tuition, which may want you to seek education in your state. Some schools offer great scholarship or assistantship packages. You have to keep an eye out for these types of things when you decipher the patterns in the graduate school puzzle. Of course, some also place cost lower on the pedestal if the clinical placement options are great. It's up to you to weigh which is more important.

-Thesis Option: Do you wish to do a Master's thesis to research a specific topic you're intrigued in or to begin your publishing career to build up your doctoral application? Some schools only offer the comprehensive exam option, so you'll want to make sure it has this option. ALSO make sure the professors are well-published and well-known in their respective fields, and preferably still publishing and researching. You want them to hold PhDs, as well. These are those little color indicators in the puzzle that tell you this school is great for research and still cranking it out with engaged faculty.


These are only the edge pieces of the puzzle. Be sure to check back soon for the filler pieces that you may want to consider for completing the puzzle for your perfect school! Good luck to all you #preslp and #slp2b students in your endeavors!

Bloglovin' Bandwagon

06 July 2013

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I've caved in and joined Bloglovin'! I'm so glad I did, it has such a clean,organized interface and makes it easy to find/follow blogs! In fact, it might be too easy, as I think I went slightly overboard following almost every speech-language pathology site available (as well as other sites related to SLP or not). I just love the categories!

As of right now, I'm currently in the process of getting those nifty social media buttons to make it easier to follow my blog. It's just a matter of finding ones I like that have all the media buttons I need, and I'll put them up!

Keeping the "Information Itch" at Bay: Resources for Knowledge

04 July 2013

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Since I have a tendency to have trouble not pondering about academics outside of the school year, I've managed to find some ways to stay current and read up on some issues within our field. It's a good way to stay on top of things, become aware of novel(or recurring) issues within the academic and clinical side of Speech-Language Pathology, as well as soothe the itch of entertaining myself til the school year. Like I said before, I'm a nerd, which is good for this profession, in a sense.

Of course one way I've managed to keep the beast at bay is through reading other blogs. It's interesting to see all the different perspective that professionals and students can have about SLP in general, their specialty, or research. In fact, one blogger, Rachel Wynn, has called her fellow bloggers together to spend some time delving into current research and posing their comments on the article they read [1]. This is quite exciting, as she herself points out that many working SLPs often get caught up in all their work, and don't have much time to peruse through research, which is why she encourages a post once a month, and then she will collect it all into one post for others to skim through other research for information. It's quite a great, collaborative idea! Besides this, simply reading other blogs and their take on news, research, techniques, apps or daily happenings in SLP is superb as well. I love seeing all the activities that SLPs come up with. If you want to read some blogs, go to the right side of my page where you'll see some listed; I actually follow many more that aren't shown due the amount of blogs and space on this blog design. If you'd like to see more, just e-mail me and I'll share others! You can also check out the top blogs in any Google search. All of this information will help me in my clinical placements, as well as when I'm a working SLP!

There are also some print materials that aid my SLP-information-itch. If you're a NSSLHA or ASHA member, you should receive e-mails when a new volume of the latest journal are out, as well as have access to them when they are archived [2]. These include the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (AJSLP) and the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (JSLHR). Some members may also have access to the American Journal of Audiology (AJA) or Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (LSHSS). Students are also subscribed to Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders (CICSD) Journal, which has more articles/research relevant this population [3]. All of these have fascinating research on a variety of topics and have different frequencies of publication, ranging from biannual to every other month. If you do not have the means to have a membership, I do believe that abstracts are free, and there is a $10/article fee or $25 to access all archived articles for a day. So if you'd rather just skim through the archives to read the abstracts and purchase those that strike your fancy, then that could be an option as well. But having a membership does serve well, especially for those in school, as you have unlimited access to research for classes!

Another benefit of membership is the access to Special Interest Groups (SIGs) [4]. These are groups where professionals collaborate and discuss themes pertinent to their specialty. Of course you can join more than one of the nineteen groups, but it does cost some money. These groups range from "Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation" to "Issues in Higher Education" to "Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders" to "Telepractice". There are plenty more dealing with audiology and it's components, fluency, gerontology, multiculturalism and language, among others. I'm personally part of "Language Learning and Education" and " Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Populations". If I had more money, I would've joined a few others as well, since many of them sound interesting! The ones I'm currently in are great, provide so much information... anyway, back to the meat of the post. What these groups offer information-wise are online "Perspectives" which are journals specific to that SIG's theme, as well as access to discussion boards. I actually get the discussion board correspondences sent to my e-mail. These are extremely helpful, as members bring up issues within the field, as well as for assistance with an issue they are having, which can be helpful to you now or in the long run. Just another way to stay up-to-date on happenings that arise in the profession/ your specialty.

Besides research, there are also newsletters that can help you maintain and gain relevant information. They are also great sources for knowledge on other professionals and sometimes tips for a certain event or problem. The ASHA Leader tends to be more for professionals, but, as I keep hinting at, this can help students learn stuff they might not learn in class as well as shed light on the profession itself. For students, there are also a couple of publications:  NSSLHA In The Loop and NSSLHA Now! Newsletter that publish articles geared towards students within the Communication Science and Disorders realm. They even post CFY listings and accept some articles written by students, so if your creative juices are flowing and you are knowledgable about something of student interest, then have a go and see if you get published! (The CICSD also accepts student research and has a mentoring program.) As with the research journals, these are also archived, just follow the link listed below [5].

Lastly, I've become aware of two other opportunities for free-time knowledge quests. First, there's the ASHA Podcast Series which entail interviews with professionals making strides in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology [6]. I have yet to view these, but once I do I'll tell you what I think! Second, there are other e-newsletters that ASHA provides which cover several different themes that pertain to all professions under ASHA's scope [7]. I'll try to read these over and see if any of them will be added to my reading list. Some seem interesting, so we'll see!

If this post won't help your 'information itch' then I'm not sure what will! Hope you find some that tickle your fancy and enjoy! Also, if anyone has suggestions of other places for interesting/relevant information, please share!

Related Articles/References:

[1] Blogging About Research : from Rachel Wynn at "Talks Just Fine"

[2] ASHA Journal Archives

[3] CICSD Archives

[4] ASHA Special Interest Groups 'Perspectives'

[5] ASHA Leader ,   NSSLHA Now! Newsletter  and  NSSLHA In The Loop

[6] ASHA Podcast Series

[7] ASHA e-Newsletters

One Door (Almost) Closes...

01 July 2013

So, I was recently given the opportunity to possibly volunteer in the Speech Dept. at a satellite campus of a local children's hospital. This would just be for some hours a week, from July- August. Awesome, right?! The only issue is, the campus I was assigned to is 1-1.5 hours by bus, and the last 15 minutes, according to Google Maps, can only be completed by car/taxi. Well, I won't have a car at school, and I don't plan on taking a taxi... even if I could find one in that area?! Walking the last stretch is worse, adding another 1-2 hours. Yikes! I e-mailed the volunteer coordinator, asking how many days a week the position is. If it is only one, then perhaps I could find a means of transportation through a friend or something. Which would be great! But, we'll have to wait and see. Luckily, the coordinator told me I could also defer this volunteer position until next summer, which would be great and I could possibly have more time volunteering since I'm not even back in the US til mid-July!

With that said, despite this one door possibly closing, another one is opening! A professor posted a volunteer opportunity on our club's Facebook group. There's a camp for children who communicate through Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems (AAC).  It's only for three days, which is perfect. Just enough time to get my feet wet in this division of SLP and Linguistics and actually see this form of communication first-hand. (Well there's multiple forms of AAC from pointing to pictures, to gesturing all the way to simulated speech like Stephen Hawking.) So this would be an exciting camp to be a part of! I'll be e-mailing the director later today about volunteering and let you know when I hear back! Stay tuned!

It's A Glottal Thing

30 June 2013

Today I have an extremely small anecdote to share, but the linguist in me found it rather amusing. Let me take you back to a few days ago...

I had just sat down with my boyfriend on these unique benches in the local airport. They're an odd shape, almost a horizontal cross-section of a boat with a dorsal fin in the middle for back support. My boyfriend had already taken out his laptop and I was in the process of mimicking his motions, as we had an hour to kill.

In the midst of sorting through my rather large tote (brought to be used as a beach tote for towels at our destination) I hear a rather odd noise. Of course, airports are a mecca of odd noises, even a small one like this. Several languages and dialects are being spoken, plates and cups are clanging on the tables, there's pitter-pattering of small and large feet alike... so this shouldn't have been out of what I'd normally expect, especially as I've heard similar utterances before.

All I heard was " Now I thought I told you before..." What caught my attention was the extreme glottal stop usage of the man's dialogue. Or perhaps his accent made it sound harsher and more apparent in speech. I can't quite tell, but he was somewhere from the United Kingdom. Despite hearing British/ Welsh/Irish people talking before, I had never heard this much glottal-age in such a short sentence. (For those who might not be aware of what a glottal stop is, it is the 'noise' you make when saying things like 'uh-oh' or 'button', it's more prominent in British English. It's that quick "stop" you make in the middle of uh-oh. I'll post a video below to help.)  I'll attempt to transcribe it, but forgive me as it's been a year since I've transcribed anything, and vowels aren't my strong-suit. This is what it sounded like to me:

Aj  θɔʔ  aj  toʔd  ju  bifɔʔ

All I know is, I swear I heard that darn glottal stop at least 3 times. I even thought he pronounced it at the end of both 'I's too, but I left that out as it's most likely my mind on sensory overload. Either way, my inner linguist is fairly satisfied right now, despite leaving the Basque country, a linguistic paradise, for the time being. Does anyone find it amusing to hear less-common American English (or your native dialect) IPA sounds? What's your favorite IPA sound?

*Note: I'm not disrespecting British people at all, so i hope it doesn't sound like that! It's just amusing to hear accents. :)

Here's a link to the promised video:     I think he does a decent job at explaining how the noise is made and giving examples.

Pros vs Cons of Being a Teacher's Assistant

27 June 2013

This semester hasn't even placed it's big toe in the water yet, and I'm already pretty packed with activities and responsibilities to fulfill. That doesn't mean I'm being a negative Nancy about it. Quite the opposite! I'm extremeeeely excited about all of these opportunities I've managed to gather. Not only will they be excellent for resumes, but I'll actually learn and grow from them as well. Can you tell that I'm a die-hard optimist? Don't worry, I am some-what of a realist as well, and I realize it's going to take some of my fancy matador work to skirt around the bull and take all of this by the horns, but you're darn tootin' I will. I've always had a strong work ethic and decent time management, so this may just help me find any kinks within my way of working. Which is good!

Now, with that slight tangent-filled ramble aside, I'll get onto what some of this had led to... Some thoughts on my TA position. (To go along with said earlier tangent, it's all about time management, and some people despise all the grading and such... but I want to learn and become a better teacher/planner... it's part of SLP)


-Extra review of material, become well-versed: I don't know about you, but I prefer knowing my material inside-out. It's better knowing more about less than less about more.

-Interact with others: If you want to enter this profession, and numerous other paths, it's best to have people skills.

-Helping others learn: This may not be a perk to all, but for most entering Speech-Language Pathology there is an intrinsic desire to help others! So I'll feel complete at the end of the day.

-Building relationships with students and professionals: A professional and personal network are two good groups to have in life. Not only will they let you feel good/accomplished, but these groups, especially the professional one, will provide you with support throughout your career and life. Luckily, SLP has a GREAT online network!

-Time management: Assisting the teacher, aiding students, grading papers, and all of that on top of responsibilities for work and other classes will make you create a way to manage time if you don't already have one!

-Leadership: Leading classes and discussing things with fellow students learning the material will boost up your leadership cred, which is (hopefully) considered better than street cred where you come from.


-Grading many things: Grading tends to be delegated to student assistants for a reason. Especially for those ENORMOUS classes. At least you get to see some amusing student responses! And relearn the material... 20-150 times over.

-Occasional unnecessary emails from students about things already explained: Some students just don't like to take the extra 5 seconds to read the syllabus or are busy looking at their phones instead of writing down the assignment. Luckily for them, we have access to e-mail. It'll help you learn patience, at least!

-Last minute e-mails from students: Similar to the bullet above, some students thrive on procrastination. I understand, I occasionally partake in this extreme activity. What comes with this adrenaline-gushing experience is the ability to forget what all must be included or if there can be an extension, in which case, many e-mails are sent the night before or even day of! (Luckily, I've never had it that bad. Thank goodness! Or else I'd be kicking myself in the tush!)

What'd Ya Say? Wednesday: Stroke/ Aphasia Headway!

26 June 2013

Stroke affects a cast population of people every year. Sadly, numerous stroke sufferers have long-term effects, including speech and language issues. This holds especially true for those who had a stroke in the left hemisphere, where the majority of our communication abilities originate. When there is damage done to this side of the brain, it can lead to Broca's Aphasia, which is associated with non-fluent speech. In these cases, the person knows what he/she wants to communicate, but doesn't possess the ability to utter out the entire utterance. In turn, only words or short phrases come out. Other related deficiencies include spontaneous speech, reading and writing, and other communication issues.This condition affects the sufferer's entire life, as the ability to communicate is vital to daily interactions, which can render the person incapable of holding a job or conversation. Luckily, there has been a decent amount of research on the matter, and one researcher from the University of South Carolina, Dr. Julius Fridriksson, Ph.D. along with his team have found a technique that may be suitable for those with this condition.

What he has come to find so far in his preliminary studies, is the possible viability of a technique called speech entrainment. Within this technique, the part that relies on audio-visual feedback seems to prove most promising. The process involves the client to watch and listen to a speaker who talks slowly on an iPod and mimic the speaker simultaneously. Over time, the video portion is taken away and the speaker attempts to speak via audio. In his study with 13 patients, they all went through a 3 week period and practiced speech every day. By the end,the ability to produce spontaneous speech increased, which is superb considering this population of patients rarely see that type of success. So this technique seems to provide some hope for Broca's Aphasia patients!

If you would like to read more, here is the article:

Dr. Fridriksson also gave a talk on TED about his research and gives some background on Broca's Aphasia. It includes video of patients talking with this condition, including one who is a severe case and got better after the therapy. It shows his talking with and without the audio-visual feedback, which is neat to watch. It's only 15 minutes, so here's the link: