The School Speech Therapist is going to ASHA. It has been 29 years but in a few days I’m finally going back to the ASHA Convention. This time not as a newbee SLP but as a seasoned professional with over 30 years of experience. I’ve also decided to blog my ASHA experience.
I’ve spent the last few days perusing the course/workshop/poster session lists, hoping to maximize my learning and my acquisition of CEUs. That process alone has been a bit overwhelming but also interesting to see what others in the field are working on. There are also a hand full of non-course activities and “meet and greets” that sound like fun. With social media being such a big part of SLP world these days, I’m also looking forward to putting some names and faces together.
The other exciting part about the ASHA Convention for me is that I am presenting a poster session. For a lot of people that wouldn’t be a big deal but for me it is. For months now I’ve been planning and prepping. Anyone who says putting together presentations isn’t work, is totally wrong. Since this is a first for me, it’s probably taken me twice as long to pull this poster session together. I sweated over the title, wondered if the content would be relevant, figured out how to create a poster in powerpoint and toiled over my three pages of handouts. The good thing is that I now know my material so well that I’m not feeling nervous about presenting. I also realize I could be doing all this work and no one even stop by to see my poster. I will explain a little more about my poster presentation in a future post. For now here are the presentation details.
I’ve actually retitled my poster to Educating School Administrators about the Speech Language Pathologists Scope of Practice and role in Schools My poster session is based on my book The School Speech Language Pathologist, An Administrators Guide to understanding the role of the SLP in schools along with strategies to aid staffing, workload management and student success
Hope to see many of you there! If not follow along.
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Back in mid-December I attended a one day workshop called “Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom: Tools to improve self-regulation, learning and classroom climate” Lisa Flynn, E-RYT, RCYT presented a program that she designed to help bring yoga and mindfulness into the classroom. Not only did she present the concrete parts of the program, Ms. Flynn also did a good job explaining how students could benefit both academically and behaviorally.
My motivation for attending was to learn a little bit about mindfulness and incorporate some quick and simple techniques into my therapy sessions. I was actually planning for that to be my smart goal for the year. The initial sequence presented focused on activities that could easily fall under the SLPs scope of practice. One listening activity focused on auditory attention, some breathing and head/neck movements could fall under oral motor, movements that pair up with others could fall under social and another activity focusing on relaxation/imagination is basically visual imagery. I’m sure I could find many more examples.
Ms. Flynn has modified many of the basic yoga positions to be “school friendly.” This means nothing too challenging, minimal space requirements and no touching the floor. Even more impressive is that she has put together a variety of sequences to choose from depending on needs. Ms. Flynn was also very mindful of the time constraints schools face, creating sequences that vary from 1-2 minutes to 20 minutes. Her suggested sequences include
- Morning meeting
- Take a Break
- Pre-Writing and Writing Break
- Pre-Test and Test Break
- Mood/Energy Shift
- Close of Day
Several of these 1-2 minute sequences would be perfect for speech/language therapy sessions.
Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom was hosted by PESI. It really was a good bang for the buck. Not only was Ms. Flynn very knowledgeable but she also shared an awful lot of information and the take homes were very complete. If you wanted to implement her techniques on a larger scale there were materials available to purchase. Ms. Flynn has created sets of cards to guide, explain and demonstrate the aspects of her program and I must say they were quite good.
If it would up to me, I spend some consult dollars on this program to have Ms. Flynn train the teachers and develop a program that would fit my schools needs. I see this approach as proactive and being able to help in so many ways. I could also envision physical education teachers taking the lead on this to help incorporate this into daily practice. This is a program all kids could benefit from. This could be considered a universal support in schools and foster skill development in so many areas.
This was honestly one of the most enjoyable workshops I’ve been to in a long time. I do have to wonder if it was enjoyable because we got to get up and move around. If movement and breathing made the workshop more enjoyable that just proves it works. I’m looking forward to incorporating many of these techniques into my therapy sessions.
Read more about Lisa Flynn’s Yoga 4 Classrooms program on her web site
Well it’s been over a month since I attended the ASHA Convention in Philly. I’ve been wanting to follow up my ASHA Convention Experience article series with a summary of my experience and thoughts on the whole thing. Overall my whole ASHA Convention experience gets a flexible B to B-.
There were two main reasons in my mind to go to ASHA. One was the amazing amount information I expected to be exposed to. ASHA gets a solid A for the quality of speakers. With 15,000 in attendance, ASHA presented a nice variety of sessions in terms of topics and length. There were always several sessions I wanted to attend that fell at the same time. Overflow was handled well when sessions were extremely popular.
My Poster Session
The second main reason to attend the ASHA convention was to present my poster (based on my book) on Educating School Administrators about the Speech Language Pathologist’s scope of practice and role in schools. Unfortunately, I presented my poster on Saturday the last day and last session. There were several people who had made it a point to come and talk to me and that was great. I couldn’t even linger afterward to talk with the few still milling about because the venue kicked us out. I also think at that point people were on “information overload” and either left the conference or were more interested in vendor deals. I did end up giving away a few of my books. Yes I am a soft touch. I also had a great rack card handout to give to principals and administrators. I was surprised more were not taken. However, when people took the time to read the rack card info they often came back for more or sent their friends over to get one.
I like to talk speech language pathology as much as the next guy but three full days is almost too much of an overload. I know by Saturday I was ready to ditch the sessions I planned to attend. I forced myself to go since I had paid for the conference. I was glad I did.
The Mira App
I did like using the Mira app. I think it helped to organize my time to help me get the maximum ceus possible. Organizing for this convention was overwhelming because so many sessions were offered. Not only did I prepare before I went but I firmed up my schedule the night before. I used my IPad to reference the uploaded conference materials during sessions and that helped with note taking. I ended up with 17.5 CEUs and that was with very little down time. If you plan on using your IPad at any convention make sure you have an external charger handy those batteries drain quickly.
I found that ASHA can be a very lonely place when you go alone. Honestly, I keep myself busy so that really doesn’t bother me. However, it would have been nice to have some formal opportunities to really discuss topics with other SLPs rather than just listening to lectures. Of course I would chitchat with people sitting next to me or sharing a table at breakfast but it was just surface conversation. I wish ASHA would offer roundtable discussions where you could meet and discuss current topics/concerns/share ideas/possible initiate change. I’m also at the point in my career where a few more opportunities to network and collaborate would be nice. (Sorry SLPs I have to say this…we’re still a very clicky crowd.)
The Keynote Speaker
I have to give a shout out to the keynote speaker, Drew Dudley, he was excellent. I usually don’t go in for the rah-rah of opening ceremonies but I am glad I went. He actually inspired me to make a key decision regarding my career.
The biggies were there such as Pearson and Super Duper. Apparently it is a tradition for many to leave with their yearly Super Duper bag that they give-a-way. I will admit it is a nice bag. There were lots of raffles so I hope someone won something. Tag scanning makes entering a lot easier. A few of the bigger ones were giving away like one copy of one test-such Princes. Too many staffing agencies were there trying to get you to sign up with them (that will be an article for another time). There were also several vendors hawking TENS units. Those small vibrators that are suppose to help pain. I have to wonder if SLP have a higher percentage of pain compared to other fields because of all the bags we carry. And yes there was a bag lady there. At least she was an SLP. There were not as many tchotchkes to pick up as there were 30 years ago. I didn’t buy anything but I did see a few things that would work for me in therapy. Some of the vendors were offering conference discounts. I noticed the private practice folks loading up on discounted materials.
I did meet the ladies who have created SLP Toolkit and they have one heck of a product that I want to try.
When all was said and done I spent around 1,500 to go to ASHA. I got the early bird ASHA conference fee (no discount for presenters which I think is wrong). Airfare was reasonable. Now I stayed at the Marriott to be at the venue so that added significantly to the cost. Sharing was not something I would have ever considered, even in my younger days. Let’s think about this ladies….do you think men go to conferences and ask, “Who will I room with?” I doubt the men of ASHA were sharing hotel rooms. Why would that even be something to consider, we are adult professionals. Poster costs were minimal but the hours involved in prep were not. (Poster presenters do not even get credit for the time they stand at their poster presenting-it isn’t a great deal CEU wise) However, presenting is voluntary and if you aren’t willing to put in the time you don’t have to do it. It is obvious they have no difficulty getting quality presenters with the current system. I doubt other fields give away their information like that.
The food situation at this particular conference was terrible. The venue did not have enough staff on to even sell coffee in the morning. Long lines were everywhere and so many food stands were not even opened. There was very little time between sessions to get something to eat. A half hour was not going to be enough given the food situation. The hotel restaurants had incredible waits (due to poor staffing from what I could see). Even lines at the giant food court across the street were huge. I ended up eating hot dogs off a food truck for two lunches. I might consider the box lunch option if there is a next time. Luckily, I participate in the Marriott rewards program so I had breakfast and enough of a snack around dinner to call it a meal. Now I did have a lovely dinner one night with an old friend and her husband. We picked a great spot and got to see a little bit of the city.
It would have been nice to have some time built in to see the city or take a tour. I know other professional conferences offer that. ASHA is all business. SLPs just don’t have the luxury of taking time off from learning.
I am glad that I went but I can’t say I enjoyed the experience. I think I just went in with expectations that were too high. The funny thing about that is that after 30 years of continuing education, I know better. The content presented in the sessions I attended was better than average. Very rarely do you actually get practical information out of any conference you attend. I would say that I took away good ideas from around 50-75% of the sessions I attended. Which I think is pretty good.
I think it was more the social aspects of ASHA that didn’t meet my expectations. I was hoping for more opportunities to talk shop with other SLPs, find out what others are doing and share some thoughts. It’s almost like ASHA and SLPs need a pragmatic goal or expectation. We are so isolated in our work that I though perhaps at the ASHA convention I might get to meet and discuss issues with like minded SLPs. Unless I decide to present again I won’t go to another ASHA till it comes back to Boston. I’ll spend my continuing education budget on smaller conferences. But who knows, I’m thinking about submitting to present at the Schools Connect, Health Care Connect, and Private Practice Connect in New Orleans in July. The only turn off there is New Orleans in July. I’m still not giving up my mission of advocating for SLPs and speech/language students through increased education for school administrators.
So how did day three end at ASHA? Saturday seemed to be a very low energy day at ASHA. If I was someone who was only able to go for one day, Saturday would have been very disappointing. I did go to some very good sessions but nothing special was going on.
As I mentioned I listened to Wayne Secord speak in the early morning then went to a session on struggling writers presented by Melissa Feller. Melissa and I met later on the plane ride home and had a chance to chat. Turned out we had many mutual acquaintances in common. Small world.
I finally presented my poster session. I only had about 10-15 people come up and talk to me during the hour and a half so that was a little disappointing. I really wanted more people to get my rack card handout for administrators. However, those 10-15 people were very interested and felt the topic needed to be highlighted. Several people mentioned that their districts were working on developing a workload model. I hope someone somewhere has some success developing on that will work. I’ll be working on some blog posts in the future around the comments I received
There just wasn’t a lot of foot traffic going through the poster hall during my session and then the venue promptly kicked us out at 2:00. Actually shut off the lights so there was no time to linger. That was really disappointing.
Needless to say I have a ton of rack cards left. If you really wanted one send me a self addressed stamped envelope and I will mail you a few.
6 Birch Lane
Ipswich, MA 01938
If you want more than 10 shoot me an email at theschoolspeechtherapist.com.
ASHA was a successful trip for me. I spoke to a lot of like minded folks, made some connections, saw some amazing and fun products, met up with an old friend, introduced advocacy for SLPs, got some very positive feedback and picked up some very good information. I wish I could have stayed a few more days to see a little bit of the city.
Morning session listening to Wayne Secore speak on practical classroom performance assessment. Talking about a different way to assess using the celf observational rating scale. Great information and humorous
check out my first impression of the celf 5 http://www.theschoolspeechtherapist.com/are-you-a-celfie/
Please stop by and visit my poster today. Board 273. Rack card for administrators handout
Well I logged in almost 20,000 steps on the fit bit today. Seemed like all the sessions I wanted to attend were at the other end of the complex. Started early with a session on helping students with narratives. That seems to be a big issue on my caseload these days but in not your typical way. Did get some good ideas to share. I also had my picture taken in the PR Lounge with advocate as my title.
The second session was titled Progress Monitoring and put on by the two ladies who created the product SLP Toolkit. Lisa Kathman and Sarah Bevier are two dynamic working SLPs who may have just come up with a program and practical material that could work for school SLPs. I stopped by their booth (739) yesterday and got a demo. If you follow my blog you know I’m pretty critical but I was duly impressed. Lots of time you look at material or programs that just don’t fit but I think the SLP Toolkit fits.
The mindfulness session I attended wasn’t what I thought it might be so I went on to another session focusing on spelling disabilities. I got some good information out of that.
Decided to put my feet up for an hour or so before setting up my poster and meeting friends for dinner. I’m excited to present my poster and share my concerns. I”ve created a rack card that you can give to your school administrator to help start the conversation. The rack cards will be there all day and I will be there from 12:30-2. Board 273
Finally got out of this building and walked to Little Nonnas with friends. A fun little hole in the wall on Locust street. We had an excellent meal. It was just such a cute place. Highly recommend.
One more day to go.
Hi everyone. Just a quick reminder that I do have a few copies of my book with me at ASHA. I can let them go for $10. I have shared the book with a few vendors that might benefit. If there is anyone here at ASHA that you think should have a copy of my book please let me know.
Dont forget my poster session saturday 12:30-2. I have a rack card made up that you can share with your administrators to open the conversation
I’ve had quite a long day here at ASHA. I’m just about ready to fall asleep at the computer. Usually I don’t go in for the rah rah of welcome ceremonies but I am sure glad I went this morning. ASHA brought in a wonderful motivational speaker named Drew Dudley. He spoke about leadership and basically how we should all consider ourselves leaders. If you get a chance check him out on Ted talks but hopefully ASHA will put his talk on the ASHA website. Anyway it was a nice way to start my day.
I got two sessions in today. The first one was given by an Audiologist named Jeanane Ferre on CAPD. She did a very good job of explaining different aspects of CAPD and even provided goal and objective samples. It was an excellent presentation. The second one was encorporating music with patients with severe brain trauma. I remember learning (or realizing) the music connection to language development/recovery back in college. It is almost sinful that thirty years later it still isn’t standard practice or encorporated more often. Some of their patient videos were amazing.
So what else did I do all day? I attended a Sig 16 meeting (where I won a free affiliation membership for a year), listened to a variety of poster sessions, went to the PR Lounge reception (tomorrow I am going back to get my picture taken as part of their campagine to promote our CCCs), went through all the vendor booths and went to a very well attended SLP blogger meet and greet. My only dissapointment there is that it was too loud and crowded to meet and greet anyone. No one was really facilitating anything but they gave away a lot of prizes. I will try to stop by their booth tomorrow I think to make that connection.
Most important I got to meet up with an old friend, we had a nice little chat and planned dinner for tomorrow night.
I did pass out a couple of my books and a few of my cards so I’ll see if anything comes of that. All and all it was a fun and deucational day. I’m all planned for tomorrow and looking forward to getting up early and get moving. Looking forward to setting up my poster session at 6:00 tomorrow evening. Don’t forget to stop by my poster session I have a rack card for to give your administrator.
The only thing I’m going to do differently tomorrow is to eat a huge breakfast. I was starving by mid day:)
Attending the Welcome to ASHA meeting. Going over some of the choices for programs. I’m going to be exposed to an amazing amount of information the next few days.
Over 1700 poster sessions over the next 3 days. That might explain why so many SLPs were traveling with tubes😉 Hope you all take some time to stop bye and peeks at the posters your interested in.
There were about 6 sessions I wanted to attend this morning. My plan is to attend one focusing on capd and writing ieps to reflect capd goals. I’ll let you know how it goes
I made it to Philly. It was a lot of fun at the airport. Met several SLP’s as we waited for our flight from Boston. We played spot the SLP. Which is never hard….SLPs can always scope out other SLPs…we must have some sort of cosmic connection. It helped that every other SLP was carried a poster tube with them.
Signing in was painless. No lines yet. I can’t imagine what the lines will look like tomorrow. It looked a little like they were getting ready to move some livestock. The sign up is set up in the exibition hall. Tonight there were lots of people around to point you in the right direction. The gift bags were basically program books and advertisements. There was also one cool little sticker.
Went over to the first timers event. I figured I qualified since I hadn’t been here for 29 years. It was more of a welcome to the ASHA organization rather than welcome to the conference. ASHA offered a nice little spread but if you wern’t with someone it wasn’t really that engaging. So I bailed and went to the Marriott Rewards Lounge for a drink and some nibbles.
Plan for the rest of the night is to firm up my plan for tomorrow.
I’m very excited to be traveling to ASHA 2016 today. I’m all set to go except for a few last minute details. I’ve already asked my husband to make sure I don’t forget to take my poster with me. My biggest fear is that I’m going to leave the poster somewhere since I’m not use to carrying around a tube. No I’m pretty sure I’ll keep the poster pretty close to me the whole trip.
Of course I’m wondering if there will be any interest in my poster session. It’s basically about self advocacy and recent personal experience tell me this is something greatly needed in our field. It is something I’ve worked on for years without much buy in from colleagues who are just trying to get through their day. Most of my work with administrators has fallen on deaf ears and we need to change that.
I’m hoping to get to Philly with a couple of hours of daylight to spare so I can see the city a little bit. ASHA sent an email warning us about political protests going on and to be cautious. I’m really not concerned, I don’t think SLPs are threatening targets. My experience is that most of us are too busy to even bring the subject up.
Apparently attendance for ASHA 2016 will shatter previous records. 15,000 SLPs and Audiologists are defending upon the city. I am looking forward to meeting some very friendly, interesting and like minded therapists the next few days.
Looking forward to attending the first timers meeting this evening. I figured since it’s been 29 years since my last convention It might be a good thing to go. Unless something more fun comes up.
Oh one last thing. I will have a few copies of my book available if anyone is interested. $10 if you want a copy while at ASHA.
Hope to see you there
tweet @TheSchoolSLP #ASHA16