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Tongue Twisters for 'S'!

19 June 2015

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

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

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

3. Six silly sisters sitting sadly sawing six silk sacks


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

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

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

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

Cringe-worthy TV Reference!

13 June 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reasons To Do A Thesis

08 June 2015

As our field is evolving into a more evidence-based discipline, universities are pushing for a more research-reliant curriculum. Students are required to read more scholarly articles and take classes on how to read research. With this piled on top of classes (and in the case of graduate school, clinic), why would a student opt to do an independent study or a full-on thesis?

Here are just a few things I have gained from writing an undergraduate thesis:
(You can check out my thesis here!)

-Gain confidence and public speaking abilities:
Despite being in a more people-focused field, I'm actually on the introverted side of things (but I do love being with people, promise!). By doing a thesis I learned to gain confidence in myself, in asking questions, bouncing ideas off of others and presenting in front of others. In fact, my thesis advisor encouraged me to ask questions on items I didn't understand in the research, which helped realize that it's okay not to know everything at first, and that over time you will be able to synthesize everything!
Why is this important? As a clinician, you will need to be able to describe things to a variety of people who fit along a spectrum of knowledge on the subject. It's also beneficial knowing that it's okay not knowing the answer to certain items clients and coworkers might ask... you just have to consult other sources!

-Realize you know more than you think when responding to questions:
You can never be quite sure of what you know until you have to explain your rationale. My thesis advisor made sure I knew the fundamentals and then explained new things to me. This provided me with the basis of being able to think things through when I had the question portion of my defense and when I explained my research to others. I also understood how other research I read related to what I studied and how those studies explained what was occurring in my research as well.
Why is this important? You can synthesize information from multiple sources and understand how these results can affect or relate to your client. 

-More knowledge in a specific area: 
Not sure what part of SLP or AuD you enjoy most? Or do you just want to learn more about a specific subfield? This is a great way to do that. You don't have to do a full-blown experiment; in fact,  you can do a small independent study that reviews current literature or even a survey to learn about something specific. Or, if you want to do an experiment, you can ask a professor for ideas or do an off-shoot of what he/she is researching (in fact, that's usually how things go. Most don't do their own experiement until the Master's or PhD level. So no pressure!)
Why is this important? Knowing how to read research is a good skill. By doing an independent study or thesis you will also gain more insight into a specific population, which you can use when treating clients with that disorder. It might also help you get a leg up against other people applying for a job if the place of employment focuses on that population! (ie. a thesis on pediatric dysphagia might be seen as very beneficial when applying to a pediatric outpatient clinic)

-Build writing and research skills:
Writing papers, literature reviews, reading other research, running subjects, etc ...all of these skills will improve in the process.
Why is this important? This will help you know how to critically read literature in the future so that you have up-to-date and reliable research for treating clients. You'll also learn how to write in a more professional and concise manner.

Have any questions on doing an undergraduate thesis or working in a lab? Feel free to contact me! You can also read my thesis here!