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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:

CEU Course Review: Tips For A Good (School) CFY

24 June 2013

*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.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I completed my first class on a Continuing Education Unit (CEU) website. It was so exciting! I guess that's partially because I'm a nerd and enjoy learning. The course I decided to begin with was " Launching Your School SLP Career With a Great CF Experience" presented by : Jean Blosser, Ed.D., CCC-SLP. Despite the title exclusively stating "school", she iterates that these same principles can be applied to those in the medical-side of SLP as well. You might have to change a student for a client or recess duty for other responsibilities while she talks, but Jean makes it very clear that you can transfer these ideas to different settings.

Over all, I was thoroughly pleased with the course. Jean was able to delve into some of the key components of having a good CFY experience, particularly dealing with the mentor- mentee relationship. She actually created this seminar to be aimed at both parties, so aspiring/current mentors and future mentees could benefit from the information. I'm glad she did, as this relationship often makes or breaks the CFY. She delves into what could be considered the key parts of this partnership: finding the ideal mentor, important steps/goals for the experience, why the school setting may be challenging, what the mentor can help with, tips for creating and fostering an enriching partnership, communication strategies and benefits of mentoring. All of these are superb points to tackle, some I wouldn't even have thought of! Jean also includes several examples of students and their mentoring journey, which help bring her lecture to a higher level of connectivity with the person taking the course.

My notes!

I'll provide some of the helpful hints she discussed in her seminar 1:

- Communicating doesn't require that the mentor always be commenting/ constructively criticizing the mentee. Rather, both can partake in training sessions together and discuss their opinions, or the mentee can teach the mentor the material. They can discuss scenarios and ask for advice on what to do. They can role model or demonstrate an assessment or treatment technique or therapy scenario for discussion...

-Find/provide helpful resources for effective therapy services. The mentor can suggest different media that the mentee can utilize for therapy plans, such as: delivery philosophies, state/federal/local regulations and guidelines, school curriculum, and websites. The mentee can show the mentor some as well, or ask for advice on a source or technique.

- Non-ASHA mentor qualifications. ASHA does lay out the requirements that a student should look for in a mentor, but Jean also lists some additional, creative and insightful "requirements" as well. For example, sharing the same interests or backgrounds may be helpful, especially if the mentee has a specific career goal he/she wishes to achieve. Along the same lines, having similar personality and learning styles will aid the partnership. Willingness to communicate on multiple platforms is also ideal, as well as flexibility, as one form of communication may not always work or schedules may change.

-Mentee responsibilities are also a key aspect of this joint partnership. The mentee must recognize that mentor comments shouldn't be taken defensively, rather constructively. If the mentee feels that goals aren't being met, he/she should try to discuss/reconsider previous approaches with the mentor. One item I think that is worth highlighting is the idea that the mentee should write down what the mentor says and paraphrase it when talking to the mentor to make sure it is correct.

There are also several supplemental papers that she included with the course. These are helpful for both mentor and mentee in building an ideal relationship and therapy environment. I know I'll be keeping them handy for when I head into clincal sessions as a graduate student and when beginning my journey finding a CFY mentor.

I'm very pleased I chose this course, and I'm excited to begin my next one!

1. Blosser, Jean, , Ed.D., CCC-SLP. "Launching Your School SLP Career With a Great CF Experience." SLP Course Details., 6 July 2010. Web. 22 June 2013.

Quick Thanks!

Wow, yesterday the SLPeech Bubble had 29 visitors! On top of that, the twitter account @SLPeechBubble gained a handful of followers as well! This is just superb. I just wanted to say thank you all very much and I hope you enjoyed reading some of my posts and will come back for more! Feel free to comment, like or share my posts, I enjoy receiving feedback whether it's constructive, enlightening, agreement or sharing/liking posts.

Have a great day, and keep a look out for posts to come. :)


Student "non-CEU" Classes

23 June 2013

Remember how I mentioned that I registered for an online CEU company? Well, As of yesterday, I have now completed my first 'non-CEU' class. It is technically a CEU (Continuing Education Unit) course, but as I am not a professional Speech-Language Pathologist (yet), it doesn't count for credit. But I still get a certificate of completion if I receive an 80% or above on the test that follows! And guess  what? This girl got a 90%! I'm so happy! If you aren't on this bandwagon yet, I suggest you do so. Yes, it costs about $49/year for a student account, but there's plenty of other aspects that make it worth the while:

-Applications- Grad school applications, that is. These classes are extremely great assets to have in your educational arsenal when applying to grad school. They will show that you are not just dedicated to this field, but you are really, truly dedicated to it. You are not only interested in learning within the school system, but you want to learn more on your free time. That should get some of those admissions officers eyebrows raised.

-Knowledge- It's always important to maintain and expand your knowledge-- especially when it comes to the field you work in. Our field  has become so vast in the past years that there's much to know, almost too much. Taking these classes will assist you in this never-ending, but fun, endeavor. Say you read something in the news about Autism or Animal-Assisted Therapy and you want to learn more about those issues within Speech-Language Pathology, you can look up some courses about that and take them! There's plenty to choose from.

-Education- On a similar note, these classes can act as fillers (possibly, not guaranteed) that provide extra information on topics you learning in school. Perhaps you're behind or confused about a subject and want a different perspective, or you want to know some information before taking a class the upcoming semester. One way to accomplish those could be taking related classes through companies like these. Just make sure you get some sort of recognition at the end and ASHA approves of the company. One way to do that is by looking for classes on this site:

-Variety of Methods- At least the website I use has a variety of means through which the learner may view the material. So, whether you are a visual, auditory, or text-based learner, there are  classes for you. In fact, the same class may be available in all three mediums, which is great. There are also live Webinars you may partake in, where you can ask the presenter questions while he/she teaches the material. I've also seen virtual conferences are available!

-Extra Material- Many classes also have supplemental information for your benefit. You can save and print them out as you deem necessary. These are great to have for future reference and to jog your memory if you forget something later down the road. Of course, if you want to use them for therapy or handing out to clients, then you'll have to ask permission from the presenter.

Those are just a few reasons to take some CEU classes for no credit as a student. I'm sure there are plenty more!

*I use . This was not an endorsement or an expression of their opinions. These are solely my opinions.

ASHA Convention Volunteer ?!

22 June 2013

Each year the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has a convention for all professionals whose work related to communication (speech-language pathologists, audiologists, speech and hearing scientists). Along with the professionals, students in the respective fields are invited to attend the event as well. There are a plethora of speakers to listen to, with many slots for attendees to choose from over the 3 day convention (Nov.14-16 in Chicago) . In addition to speakers, there is an exhibition room filled with booths from graduate programs, businesses, etc. Such a superb learning opportunity!

ASHA recognizes that students may not have the funding to attend this event, which is a relief. To aid students who want to attend, they have the opportunity for students to volunteer at the convention. Students can choose which area(s) of the convention they would like to volunteer in and get refunded the cost of the  convention. Not only does this help financially, but it gives students the opportunity to actually see what goes into maintaining and running the convention, as well as networking opportunities! Who could pass that up?

There's just a small catch-- only some students are selected. They also give priority to NSSLHA members. It's understandable, as I'm sure they receive more than a couple boat-loads of applications! Plus, if you're aiming on becoming a professional SLP, why wouldn't you join the student organization? It does cost some money, but it's a great thing to have on your resume and in general. You have access to Special Interest Groups and articles and much more.

With all this said, I sent in my application to volunteer... so excited! Now it's just a waiting game until October 2nd. I guess this'll act as a preview to grad school application season and the waiting!

For those of you who would like to volunteer, here's a link to the application:

Good Luck!

What'd Ya Say? Wednesday: Stutterer on Spain's Reality TV

19 June 2013

Now a days, TV shows require some type of diversity, whether it be ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, childhood adversity, illness... what's sort of special about this video is that a contestant, Juan Carlos, on Gran Hermano in Spain doesn't have an illness that's viewed as much on reality (or many other) shows. Stuttering.

What is stuttering? Well think back to Looney Tunes. Remember how episodes would end with our favorite pig, Porky Pig, exclaiming, "Th-th -th-that's all folks!" The part of the utterance where Porky Pig is stuck on 'th' is considered stuttering. There's actually many types of stuttering (also known as stammering). Some examples include those at the single sound level (h-h-how are you?), entire words (dad-dad-dad, I want that) or even phrases (are we done- are we done- are we done, mommy?). Of course, they don't always go on for 3 repetitions, sometimes more. Even prolongation is considered a stammer; so, when Daffy Duck says "That's dissssssspicable", it could be thought of as a stammer. These are just some examples, you can find more types of stammering in one of the links below for further reading.

Aside from this, there's also different 'causes' of stuttering, for lack of a better term. In Juan Carlos' case, I believe his is developmental and tends to run in his family. Now, don't count me 100% on that, but I'm pretty sure. Also, for most developmental cases, the person outgrows the condition as they age. Some don't. As for him, if my memory serves me right, his older relative that had this communication disorder as well had grown out of it at some point. Juan Carlos still hasn't, and neither has his younger relative who has fluency issues as well. So hopefully that changes soon!

In addition to developmental stammering, there's two others as well- neurogenic and psychogenic. If you'd like to learn more about those, and developmental, fell free to search or visit the second link below "Causes of Stammering".

Over all, I'm glad they had a contestant with a speech disorder on the show. In his case, it could've been a con, as some people may not have had patience listening to him, but that doesn't seem the case! He made quite a few friends on the show, and from what I saw, it mostly occurred when he was nervous, excited or had the focus on him. Despite those kinks, he did great on the show, and it's awesome that they casted him!

Types of Stammering:

"Causes" of Stammering":


Specialty Profile: Transgender Voice Therapy

18 June 2013

Although I´ve been aware of voice therapy for teachers, musicians and actors or accent reduction therapy for foreigners, I hadn´t given much thought to transgendered people. It´s not due to a fear or ignorance of that population, I´ve just heard more about therapy that was available for foreigners, teachers, etc. After receiving a text bringing up therapy for transgendered people, the gears in my mind started cranking... there´s plenty of people who go through these operations, so why wouldn´t there be therapy for their voices? After all, hearing someone´s voice can be a pretty decent indicator of their gender.

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Just a simple search of ¨Transgender voice speech pathology¨(creative, I know) brought up quite a bit of information! There were even some scholarly articles and books listed, albeit most were in Transgender scholarly journals and not written by speech researchers. None the less, the topics seemed interesting! Some of the non-scholarly webpages that were brought up were articles on voice therapy for those that went through the transition. A few speech pathologists had websites stating one of their specialities was transgender voice femininization-masculinization. There were even several transgender citizens (not certified speech-voice therapists) offering vocal therapy services, or just to teach their techniques.  The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) also had information on transgender voice therapy! How was I not in the know about this?

From what I read, there´s quite a bit that goes into therapy for these clients. For men that are now female, there is a bigger obstacle of obtaining a feminine voice, as estrogen doesn´t make the voice higher. Female voices also have a higher pitch and rely on intonation rather than volume to stress words in an utterance. These two facts came from the second article below, which has more discrepancies between male and female speech and body langauge. There´s plenty more information in these articles/websites.

A Speech Pathologist who does this work in NY:

Info-Q&A- Further Reading: (Note, the lady interviewed is not a speech therapist)

A Transgendered male-to-female´s website:


Article on Gov´t giving money to GWU for transgender voice research:


Image retrieved from:

Summer Volunteer Opps

16 June 2013

This pdf lists quite a few volunteer opportunities for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology students. There are available in several states, like Ohio and Indiana. Even if you are unable to do these opportunities due to distance, they can still help you conjure ideas for possible placements in your neck of the woods!  (Sorry it´s a link, I tried to make it into a picture, but my computer doesn´t want to place nice today.)


Click Here: Summer Volunteer Opps!

SLP Skills Saturday #4: Innovative/Creative

15 June 2013

Guess what day it is?! It's Saturday, and this Saturday is special because today I'll be posting another blurb in the series "SLP Skills Saturday"! So get ready...

One of the biggest draws to this career, for me at least, is the ability to be creative in therapy sessions. Now, some might think... how can you be innovative when you are teaching others how to swallow or speak? Well, each client is different and has their own special needs. This means that not every client with Autism Spectrum Disorders or stuttering or pronunciation difficulties will exhibit their disability in the same fashion. Just as all students learn differently, all clients have their own personal obstacles that have their own rehabilitation techniques to conquer said difficulties. So, although you may be working with a group of students with Autism or a stroke victims group for those with Aphasia, not each person will learn the therapy techniques in the same way or time frame. So you need to be creative in your approaches in order to customize them per client for optimal success.

As I just slightly mentioned, there's also the need for creativity in the therapy plan itself. You need to think of different ways in which to help the client overcome his/her communication or swallowing difficulty. Sometimes several techniques need to be utilized before you find the perfect fit for that person. This is when creativity is vital. Sometimes it's the last idea that proves to be the best.  Not to mention, it's fun to let your mind come up with new ideas and materials for sessions. I know that when I babysit, I enjoy thinking of out-of-the-box ideas for crafts and games with the children, and that may just help with my future career!

This is just a small glimpse into how creativity is a fun and integral part of this occupation. I'm sure there's plenty more ways in which innovation is a good skill to have in this occupation.

Professional Network of a Speech-Language Pathologist: Audiologist

10 June 2013

Although it may seem as though it's a one (wo)man team for diagnosing and treating those with communication and swallowing deficits, there's actually much more to it. Each patient is completely unique and typically requires more than one professional in his/her care team. Of course, not all will need what seems like an entire hospital staff, but many clients that a SLP may come across may have at least one other professional.

There's also an exception to every rule. The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), the country's association for SLPs, Audiologists and related researchers, recommends/requires that an audiologist exams an individual who has a suspected communication or swallowing disorder as part of a Speech-Language Pathologist's assessment.

Why? It does seem a little odd. Why would a hearing and balance doctor need to assess someone who possibly can't swallow or speak effectively? How do ears affect your mouth or talking? Well, they may not affect swallowing as much, but they are a vital part of the "Speech Chain" [picture below]  as my one professor calls it. Ears are an intensely vital part of the communication system. Just take a moment and imagine trying to have a conversation with a person while having headphones on... is their speak muffled? or maybe you can't even hear them at all? This sort of segues into why an audiologist is a key participant in a SLP's professional and assessment network. They must assess whether (especially for young children or those in an accident) there is an obstruction or other issue with the auditory system that is creating the communication deficit. If so, then it could just be that the person needs a hearing aid or some other action to fix the issue and won't require speech therapy. That'll help identify the issue correctly and save the client time and money.  If the client doesn't have an auditory issue, or still wants/requires speech therapy for other reasons, then the SLP may assess the patient further to find the best therapy plan. There's also the chance a client may require both professionals as part of his/her therapy plan, with management and reassessment as time goes on.

This is just one professional that a SLP will most likely work with in the course of his/her career. I'll be sure to write about others as time goes on! Hope this was interesting and helpful!

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Vocal Abuse In Children

08 June 2013

Vocal Abuse In Children

I just came across this blog recently. I enjoy the posts and this one brings up a subject that you may come across daily but not really give a second thought to, despite it's possibly serious repercussions--children abusing their vocal cords. In the case of this subject, many typically link it to singers, teachers, telemarketers and other chatty professions, but not children. This can be eye-opening, especially if you are in a public place and just listen... you'll hear plenty of children screaming or making odd noises that can harm their voice if it's kept up.


Please follow the link and read about this! I find it quite interesting and helpful for those with kids!

Coming Back!

 I'd like to apologize for the disappearance! The end of the semester turned out to be busier than I expected and once that was over I was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off preparing for my trip. Since then I had spotty internet and have been busy enjoying my vacation. I feel horrible for not posting much, but my plans changed, so I didn't have much to write... I'm no longer doing the Spanish lessons in exchange for helping the language school. That will have to wait til next year... BUT a professor has asked me and two other students to be Undergraduate Teaching Assistants! This is beyond exciting, and I'm glad/honored she thought of me! Hopefully it will become something permanent. So now my upcoming semester is going to be packed! I still have to figure out when to work and such. We will see. Oh, and I made the Dean's honor roll yet again! So far things are picking up! 


Just wanted to give you guys an update! I'll be posting shortly...