May 29, 2013

Professional Issues Class Post: Special Interest Groups

ASHA offers special interest groups. Review those on the ASHA website and suppose a kind soul were to pay for you to join-- which ones might you join, and why?  Might you tell the kind soul a gentle 'no thanks' and ask for something else... if so, what would you ask for and why do you feel that way?

Such an intriguing question, and one that I can answer quite easily-- I've been involved in NSSLHA (The National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association) for a few years now, and during that time, I've had the pleasure of joining several of the "SIG" special topics groups.  I've been asked many times during my student life if NSSLHA was worth joining (and I plan to do a full post on my opinions about NSSLHA and why, soon) and this is a great example of a positive benefit of being a member-- community, resources, and information readily available!

Overview of how to join an ASHA Special Interest Group
In-depth overview of each SIG by category
Already an ASHA/NSSLHA member? Click here to join a SIG!

So, back to the question at hand: yes.  Yes I would absolutely join a SIG (special interest group), since at the time of this blog post writing, I've been involved in the following Special Interest groups (at various times during my NSSLHA membership):

Sig 1: Language Learning and Education
Sig 3: Voice and Voice Disorders
Sig 4: Fluency and Fluency Disorders
Sig 9: Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Children 
Sig 13: Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders
Sig 18: Telepractice

Several of these SIG groups were picked because the topic was found to be extremely interesting to me as a future clinician:  specifically SIG 3, 4, and 13.  I joined the SIG groups 9 and 18 for different reasons...

Namely, SIG group 9 appealed to me because I am extremely hard of hearing (HOH) and have personal insight into aspects of the Deaf and HOH community.  I wear a behind-the-ear Phonak hearing aid that greatly increases my ability to function in this profession, and I understand the struggles that hearing challenged individuals face.

I joined the SIG group 18 because I've spent extensive time collaborating with a local private practice, The Center for Speech and Language of Huntsville, AL and the director approached me to gather insight as to if adding telepractice to her business would be of benefit.  After joining the SIG 18 group, I was able to really delve into the topic, collaborate with other professionals about the subject matter, and I was also able to attend numerous SIG 18 events held at the Atlanta 2012 ASHA Convention.  All in all, this SIG group membership was extremely helpful to both me and the practice!

I found SIG group 13 to be one that I was able to glean a great deal of insight from.  Dysphagia and swallowing disorders are topics that are very overwhelming to me, as a 'green' clinician in those topics, and the SIG group proved to be most helpful--especially when various professionals would share personal accounts and information about their practices.  It was very enlightening to me that even skilled, knowledgable clinicians sometimes need a "second opinion" or push in the right direction with regards to clinical applications. This sharing of knowledge was very insightful to me.

After reflecting about my involvement in the SIG groups, I discovered a pattern which explains some of my reasoning for joining the groups when I did, and, as a undergrad to graduate student who is about to soon graduate, I recommend new CD students consider the same process:

I first joined NSSLHA as a PRE-SLP undergraduate student.  At that time, I joined SIG group 9: Hearing Disorders (for personal reasons and motives) to see what the fuss was about and how the process worked.  As I began taking a class in language disorders, I then joined SIG group 1 (Language Disorders) for more information.  As a first semester SLP graduate student, I then joined SIG groups 3 while enrolled in my Voice Disorders class, again, to bolster my information collections.  I bet you can see the pattern... soon after, I was enrolled in Dysphagia and finally, Dysfluency... and as I approached those classes, I joined the appropriate SIG group to enhance the information I was collecting in classes.

In summary, I highly and strongly recommend that if you are a student (or professional, even!) and navigating your way through your courseload or clinic demands, decide which topics you will want to hone information on, and join a SIG group.

I promise, it will be the best $10 you've ever spent!

Better Hearing and Speech Month

As May comes to a close, I wanted to ensure that I made mention of one of my favorite moments of the year: Better Hearing and Speech Month! I love the new logo, the new look, and the new focus on professional advocacy and awareness.  I feel like I'm a bit late in posting about this event since the month of May is almost over, but better late than never, right?

One of the things I love most about the profession I am about to embark in, is that a large emphasis is placed upon SLP's to promote awareness to our communities.  This endeavor can take the form of information sharing, collaboration, screenings (sometimes offered free during this month), shared therapy materials, in-service lectures, etc.  ASHA maintains that the key to a successful BHSM is that "awareness is raised about communication disorders and to promote treatment that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, understanding, or hearing."

Here are some great resources to celebrate BHSM:

ASHA Flyer
BHSM Activities Booklet
BHSM Water Bottle Labels from The Speechie Freebie Blog
BHSM Bookmarks: Hearing Loss from Heather Speech Therapy Blog
BHSM Bookmarks: Voice from Heather Speech Therapy Blog
BHSM Bookmarks: Fluency from Heather Speech Therapy Blog
BHSM Bookmarks: Language from Heather Speech Therapy Blog
Lots of materials to promote BHSM month from Speech of
Who better to celebrate BHSM month than with Super Duper, Inc?
Cooking up good speech Blog has some great recipes to make SUCCESS cookies!
Check out what Pinterest has to share for BHSM

Since I got a late start to blogging about BHSM this year, I'm glad I can share a few fun tidbits with you and I hope that by this time next year, I can create my OWN fun freebies to share and promote within the SLP and communication disorder professional community!

Happy better hearing and speech month!

May 25, 2013

Professional Issues Class Post: CF Mentor

Review the certification standards (2005 or 2014) and describe your ideal CF mentor.  Think about who you are and how you learn when thinking about the person who you want to guide you into the part of the profession.  Thinking again about your learning style, what are your concerns about the CF? How can you best prepare for whatever concerns remain?

Tough question! To begin, I am pretty open about what type of CF mentor I am privy to get-- just the chance and opportunity to collaborate with someone else in the field excites me.  It is reassuring to know that as I approach my clinical practices post-graduation, I will have someone to bounce questions off of, ask for guidance, and generally have a go-to person for all those little instances where a helping hand are warmly welcomed.

Ideally, I hope to be a CF mentee under someone who is compassionate, patient, understanding, confident, and clear about expectations.  I am the type of person who is a visual learner. I learn by seeing, processing, and integrating what I've observed into my own clinical persona.  I would hope that should I encounter something challenging or unknown, my mentor can somehow show me how he/she would approach the situation, so that I can better understand how to integrate what they are showing and teaching me, with my own practices.

That being said, I would be concerned that my CF mentor might think that I'm not motivated or confident in situations where I'd like to be shown the correct approach to the situation.  I also understand that there will be situations in which being shown the correct approach might not be feasible or possible, which is also something I've considered.  I think to best prepare for this type of concern, I should continue to be mindful of my current practices and creatively integrate any type of exchange that I receive from my mentor, no matter the medium in which we are exchanging information and ideas.

As a new clinician, I know I will encounter countless questions that I will want to ask of my mentor, and I want to be mindful to not bombard them with too many elements--especially if some of those questions can be answered by myself with a little detective work or research, so that is also something additionally I am considering.

Professional Issues Class Post: Quotes to Live By

Review a list (approximately 6 pages) of quotes and thoughts about education and learning. Look through them and find a couple that you feel relate to your experience as you have pursued the profession. Use that to talk about how you got to this point. What are you feeling as you approach these last few weeks of this part of your education?

After reviewing the list of quotes (given to me by my professor), here are the ones that most strikingly resonated with me the most:

"...Life is not a multiple choice test, it's an open-book essay exam." --Alan Blinder (Princeton)

This is so true, especially in the context of our field in communication disorders.  When I began this new academic journey, I was shocked that most (not all) of my assignments and tests were an open book/notes format, and initially I felt like I was cheating in a way by consistently referring back to those tools during an assignment.  I felt weird about this process until one professor once stated early on in my PRE-SLP classes (I wish I could remember who it was!) that it was normal for clinicians to go back to textbooks to refer to information-- it is a practice that many professionals partake in.  And why wouldn't we?  We aren't expected to know everything-- our field is simply way too broad to try to "know" everything there is to know.

I realized quickly that by adopting a study format of "open notes" for most of my assignments, my professors were teaching me to find correct information, problem solve and critically think/analyze to determine if what I've discovered is the right fit for the question/assignment, and the process heavily familiarized myself with every inch, nook, and cranny of every textbook I currently own.  Seriously.  Need to know something about language development at the pre-linguistic period? I know exactly where to look.  Curious about aphasia therapy techniques for a person with Broca's aphasia?  Boom.  No problem, I got this and can find the information in seconds.  By adopting an open book/notes approach to assignments, I've learned that the information is always readily and easily accessible to me should I one day need it.

I imagine that as I enter the professional world post graduation, this mindset will readily come to my aide.  There will always be new clients, no conditions, unfamiliar scenarios that will present themselves to me, and by having an open mind, sharp critical thinking instincts, and easily-accessible library of information at my fingertips, I will find the answers I am seeking.

"All things are difficult before they are easy." --Thomas Fuller 

THIS.  This quote resonates with me right now, this very moment.  I am two weeks into my last placement, which is a wonderful private practice that has embraced me as a student clinician.  While I feel like I should be coming into this placement full of confidence, I've found myself face to face with scenarios that are new and frightening to me.  This experience got me to thinking of my past life, my pre-SLP life in which I was a successful retail manager of a multi-million dollar mall-chain store.  I had huge responsibilities, a staff to manage, merchandise to process, and sales to make to keep my store afloat, and all too well I remember how stressful and difficult things were in the beginning.  I remember that gut-sinking feeling of nerves and anxiety as I approached new situations as a beginning manager.  With time, years, company mentorship, and experience, I grew to be a strong manager, a "top-10" store in my company (out of 800 stores, not bad!), and those feelings of inadequacy began to melt away as confidence took its place.

I imagine that same experience will happen to me as I build clinical confidence.  It is always hard to start out doing something new-- it's scary, nerve-wracking, and anxiety inducing! I have to keep reminding myself that every other clinician had to start out from scratch, too, just as I have, and that my inexperience will soon grow into clinical confidence once things adjust from being new and scary, to been there, done that.

"Failure is not the end but is the opportunity to try again." --Tommy Phelps

This is something I must continually remind myself as I work with my patients, young and old.  It is easy to forget how hard and challenging some of the goals our clients are working towards-- what seems easy to us ("Make the /k/ sound, name 5 objects that are round, etc.") might seem like real challenges to our clients.  I must strive to never loose sight of that fact, that I am aiding and enhancing the performances of people who might have delays, deficiencies, and disorders that make even the simplest of tasks seem like mountains to climb.   Just because a client fails on his or her attempt at the task doesn't mean the end of the world-- it may just mean that I need to change or adapt my approach, re-think the goal or skill being obtained, or apply creativity or critical thinking to develop another approach that will aid the client in becoming successful.

"The truly educated never graduate." --Unknown

As I prepare to leave the academic world for the clinical world, this quote rings true to me in many ways.  Just because I am finishing up my formal education in communication disorders, this fact does not mean that I can consider my educational journey at an end.  Quite the opposite... I consider my education to have officially begun. There is no way that any CD graduate program can fully and completely provide the information to everything needed to know within the scope of our practice, thus, my continued academic journey begins as I start to delve into the topics that I wasn't afforded the full opportunity to learn about in my masters program.  I believe this is one of the reasons that ASHA mandates that CCC-SLP's continue to grow and expand clinical knowledge to maintain certifications and licenses.  Here's to continued learning in the field of speech-language pathology!

May 22, 2013

Last Class Standing

One of the reasons I decided to begin this blog now is that it additionally functions as a project for the last, yes, I said LAST class I will have to take for my master's degree in communication disorders at Western Kentucky University.  I almost have a difficult time believing that this will be the last class I am required to take as I approach the end of my graduate studies journey.  I remember four long years ago that this moment felt like it would never arrive.

The class that I am currently taking is titled Professional Issues and it is shaping to be a very instrumental class to have at the end of this academic trek.  I say that because as I near my official graduation (did you see the pictures I posted of it? wooo!), this class will aide me as I transition from graduate student to clinical fellow.

Topics of this current class I am taking are (but not limited to: ASHA membership info, clinical fellowship info, code of ethics review, financial literacy, resume and job application procedures, professional advocacy, job strategies, professional collaboration, scope of practice, preparing for employment, culturally diverse clients, and many more topics that I feel confident I need additional preparations for.  I know right, these are helpful, functional topics that will totally help me to become a new clinician!

One project for this class mentioned above is to create and maintain a blog... and, well.. tada!!! Here she is!  I hope to continue this creative blog endeavor as I start my new journey into the life of becoming a new SLP clinician and perhaps the sharing of my experiences will touch others venturing out just like me, inspire new students to delve into this field, or simply allow me to connect with other professionals.

Here are a few of the topics I hope to post about in the (near) or foreseeable future:

Distance learning vs. on-campus learning
Coming from a field or career totally unrelated to communication disorders (hint: me!)
How to jump-start an education in communication disorders
Applying to graduate school "Must-have's"
My perspectives as a school-based SLP-A
Things I wish I knew (or wish someone told me) as a new SLP student/new SLP clinician
GRE test taking pro-tips (in my life, I've taken it 6 times!)
Tips and tricks to documentation and paperwork woes
Various clinical or therapeutic practices that I find helpful/useful
Posts in response to my class project prompts (they will be labeled) for Professional Issues
What to do if you don't get into graduate school on the first try (happened to me!)
Any many, many more! This is just a start!

I hope that you new, dear readers will join me as I continue this electronic adventure!

The Unofficial Graduation

So, I don't officially graduation until August of 2013, but I was recently given the opportunity to walk in the May commencement ceremony. WKU didn't offer us summer graduates the opportunity to have a summer commencement, so it was either a.) walk early before I officially graduate, or b.) walk in December, much later than my actual graduation timeframe.  I went with May because I would get the chance to see more of my classmates (I am a distance-learning student... more about that for another post... so I don't get to see my classmates in person) who traveled to attend the ceremony, and I also felt like if I waited until December, I might not want to bother with it since I would already (hopefully) be in the field.

It definitely felt weird walking a commencement ceremony when I still have one last externship to complete and one more class to take, but I feel like it was the right choice!

May 9, 2013

Therapy Materials

I scored majorly yesterday!  I found myself doing some spring cleaning and donating bags of clothing to the local non-profit thrift store and decided to check out their book section, namely, the book selection.  I am always on the hunt for high-quality, affordable items that can be added to my therapy materials collection, so when I began to amass a huge stack of to-buy books, I began to get really excited.

Since my graduation looms near (August of 2013), and I don't have any specific ideas of where and what populations I will be working with (although I know what my heart is set on!), when I add to my materials collection, I never know quite what I will be looking for... should I buy functional materials for a skilled nursing facility (SNF), or should I grab a box of toys for early intervention purposes?

For now, the specifics remain unclear, but I always figure it is smart to grab things as they become available, so this opportunity was perfect for me, should I be immediately working with children or not.

Here's my recent bounty from the thrift store haul:

The books were sold at .25 or .50 cents a piece, making this haul roughly $5!  You could go to the local major chain bookstore and spend that price on ONE book. What a deal!

So adorable... I was tickled pink to snag this book!

I am incredibly picky about the types of books I snag for any type of language therapy (or articulation therapy, for that matter).  Here is a general run-down of some of the elements I look for in a book that will be added to my speech materials collection:

1. Quality
Seems like an obvious requirement, but I figured it needed mentioning.  If I am buying a second-hand/used book, I want to make sure that the quality of the book is in good shape.  No coloring on the pages, no torn or ripped parts, spines and bindings are intact, that sort of thing.  There's no sense in using a book that has defects, as my experience has shown me that children (and especially those with autism) sometimes perseverate on the defects, which can be very distracting and lessen the quality time you will be spending as you attend to the book.

2. Hardback
Call me very picky, and this mostly only applies to children's books, but I really, really prefer to mostly use hardback covered books.  I know this might limit my selection, but here's why: my experience in using books has shown that hard cover books are 1.) easier for small children's hands to grasp and hold, 2.) the books are easier to sit up or prop up at a slant for easier reading, 3.) they tend to be more durable and have longer lives as therapy materials, and 4.) when laying flat on the table, they tend to open up and stay open with more ease.

3.  Content
The book needs to serve a purpose.  Yes, research shows that literacy awareness is important for children and early intervention practices, but for me (again, there's that picky side of me!), the book needs to offer more than just a 'cute story' and 'pretty pictures.' Here are some elements (not exhaustive) that I look for in a book:
a.) Rhymes: helps promote phonemic awareness
b.) Themes/categories: such as animals, things you wear, days of the week, etc.
c.) Colors/numbers
d.) Holidays: Valentine's day, birthdays, New Years, etc.
e.) Manipulables: pop-up books, "fold up or down cover flaps," etc.
f.) Concepts such as spatial or temporal elements (like top/bottom, night/day for example)
g.) Emotions, etiquette, or social pragmatic skills
h.) Sequences: the story has a series of 'steps' towards a goal, can be used for sequencing elements
i.) Seasons: spring, winter, fall, summer

Manipulables! yay! I love 3D book elements... helps to keep the child's attention!  

4. Speech sounds
I also enjoy using books to facilitate articulation therapy (and, in turn, it always enhances language exposure as well, which is an added bonus to using fun books in articulation therapy).  As we well know, in some cases, many children on our caseloads run into problems with both articulation and language deficits, so I get very excited when I am able to incorporate multiple elements into a treatment session!  It's like multitasking at its very best. :-)  That being said, I like to check my books for reoccurring speech sounds or books that include many usages of some of the more common phonemes that are targeted in therapy, such as /k/, /g/, /s/, /z/, /l/, /th/, and that pesky /r/. If I know a client is working on the targeted /s/ sound, and therapy has progressed to the phrase, sentence, or generalization level, then books are some of the best therapy tools that can be used-- most children love attending to books with an adult.  Their excitement about the process is definitely infectious for me!

That's it for now, but I'm sure I will post more in the future about books and literacy fun.  One of the best parts of this career (for me, and I am sure many others) is the element of finding interesting therapy materials to offer to our clients.  As always, happy hunting!

May 7, 2013

How to: Blog

This new adventure in blogging has spawned many in my life to question exactly how one goes about creating a website or blog, so I figured I would offer an insight into my process of building a new blog from the ground up.

Background Info:
To begin, this is not my first blog. I once started a knitting blog back in 2006 with a website called Blogspot and it was a whimsical endeavor to share my love of the fiber arts. It was maintained heavily for about a year but was eventually shelved due to crazy life events.  This first blog was created using Blogspot, which was perfect to me at the time, as my computer skills were quite limited. 

Eventually, Blogspot was bought out by Google and turned into Blogger (I'm a bit fuzzy on the exact details of this takeover). My experiences with both Blogspot/Blogger have always been very favorable (more on that in a minute). 

Jump ahead to about a year ago, I found myself creating two blogs: one to promote my collaboration as a product ambassador for SpiritHoods, and one as a personal collaboration with a friend and fellow SLP.  Both of these blogs were created and maintained using Typepad (details below).  Eventually, my partnership with SpiritHoods ended, so that blog was sadly shelved, and the collaborative blog was likewise shelved, mainly as a result of costs associated with Typepad. 

Blog Information: 
Please note that the below information is not exhaustive; it is merely an overview of my experiences and opinions in using various blog tools. 

This is a widely-used blogging/website tool that has a clean interface, organized features, and offers a streamlined blogging experience. Many of the "powerhouse" popular blogs out there in Internet-land use Typepad.  
Pros: free trial, clean and easy to follow interface, offers professional-grade templates, customizable features, help support, blogging app available for Android and Apple devices
Cons: cost (free 14 day trial but afterwards plans start at $8+ a month based on features needed), setup with a custom domain and Google search engine access is tricky for novice users

This is another popular blogging tool used by many writers. Since it was acquired by Google, it can be easily integrated with Google+ accounts and the Google search engine. 
Pros: free, can easily purchase a custom domain for your blog using the Google wallet partnership with Go Daddy services, easy to use interface, app for smartphones, automatically added to Google's search engine platform
Cons: limited in-stock templates, settings and options might be confusing to someone new to blogging

3. Weebly
Weebly is another blogging tool that offers a very easy-to-use interface with simple drag and drop actions to customize the look and feel that the writer wishes to portray. 
Pros: super easy to use, variety of templates, great for beginners, free
Cons: free accounts have ads (an ad-less account starts around a few $ a month)

Blogging tools this reviewer has not utilized:
The following sites are additional options to consider; however, I have not used or experienced them personally--they are merely referenced in an attempt to be comprehensive in offering options.

Tools that are a blogger's best friend:

PicMonkey : LOVE the site!!! Free photo editing, collage options, fun photo borders, graphics
Etsy : search Etsy ('blogger template') for adorable, customizable, and one-of-a-kind templates (that's where I got mine!!)
GoDaddy : buy your custom URL domain name here, if desired
Pinterest : lots of blogs listed here, come explore and be inspired!

To create this blog, I first created a free account with Blogger. Next, I wanted to customize my blog with a template NOT from Bloggers predetermined options, so I scoured Etsy for the blog template I felt the most drawn to. I purchased the template and followed the enclosed instructions on how to install the new template (super easy to do). Last, I used the option Google/Blogger offered me in purchasing a custom domain URL through their partnership with GoDaddy (again, easy to do and only $9 a year for the custom URL). I have no additional fees to use Blogger, so my total cost was $29 ($9 for URL, $20 for my custom template). Of course you could opt for all in-house options and still be able to blog completely cost free! (A welcome feat since previously I had maintained the 2 blogs mentioned above for $14 every month) Yippie!! 

That's it for now. Hopefully this blog information primer will serve as a good source of information for new bloggers! It may seem intimidating but I promise it gets easier with practice. 
Happy blogging!

May 6, 2013

SLP Praxis

One major accomplishment that I've completed recently was to pass my SLP comprehensive Praxis exam. This is one element most students will tell you that really makes the stress factor go up and the anxiety increase tenfold as this milestone approaches. I know that I felt incredibly stressed about the process of this important exam--so much seems to hinge upon the passing of this crucial test. I figured I would try to demystify the process surrounding this exam and offer information that I found to be helpful in my process of preparing for the Praxis.  Please note that the noted recommendations are strictly of my own opinion. I've attempted to outline the process that worked for me, but every student learns in a different way--please understand that personal process might be different for you and these are merely suggestions! 

Here we go! 

In short, there are two versions of the SLP Praxis test that you can schedule to take when the time comes to finally bite the bullet: the paper version (0330) and the computerized version (5330).

First, here are some very general links that will be helpful in providing an overview of the Speech-Language Pathology Praxis exam:

Below are a few links that might prove to be helpful in acquiring Praxis study materials:

Two of my most utilized study prep tools ended up being the Advanced Review book (make sure you get the book with the accompanying flash drive that includes several practice tests), and the Mometrix flash card set. A few things to keep in mind... The flash drive from the book offers great practice tests BUT many of the questions are repeats of some of the questions asked in the backs of each subject/chapter. I studied the book and chapter practice questions at large, so when it came time to take the whole flash drive practice test, I felt like the scores I received were a tad inflated since I'd already been asked them in the book and remembered most of the answers.  In addition, the Mometrix flash card set was a great review tool, but included with the purchase of the flash cards, the company also includes a practice test with several questions and it is important to note that the format of their practice test is horrible, and the score received is no where near close to what you'd expect to make (many of my classmates reported that they scored lower on the Mometrix practice test than any other practice test offered).

Here are some recommended tips on additional ways to prepare for the SLP Praxis:

1. It begins. 

Decide just about how long you need to review you materials. Most students that arrive at the Praxis-taking-time are well-seasoned students. :) You should have a strong idea of what timeframe is right for you and what areas you might feel the weakest in. In my experience, having certain externships completed greatly influenced my Praxis prep procedures. For example, just before taking the Praxis, I had just completed my medical externship and that experience greatly enhanced my knowledge of dysphasia, dementia, neurological conditions, and the like. Without that experience, I probably would have devoted longer study sessions to those topics, but my real-life experiences greatly bolstered my knowledge in those competencies so I focused on other subject matters I felt needed improvement. 

Every student will come to the Praxis table with different academic knowledge. Decide how much time you want to devote to prep time (one month, several months, etc.) and what materials you will want to add to your study arsenal, and plan accordingly. One thing that is highly recommended is to break down your study sessions into bite-size chunks, or pieces. That way you won't feel overwhelmed and you will also (probably) process the information easier and faster.  One trick I implemented was to pick a topic each week (like say, aphasia for example) and I focused on it by reviewing textbook information, web resources (Pinterest, such a help!), YouTube videos (if possible), class lecture notes and slides, and anything else related to the topic.  The next week arrived and I addressed a new topic and so on. I planned it in such a way that I studied each tested competency area with my full attention. Not sure what they are? Here:

2. Gather your materials. 

Once you have decided the length of your study preparations, the next step is to assess your materials and decide if you need to acquire any additional tools to aid you in your process. Some students opt to rent their textbooks to save money, but if this is something you have done as well, it becomes problematic when you no longer have the textbook to refer back to. If this is the case, perhaps arrange to temporarily borrow the needed materials from a classmate (just be sure to work out a schedule in case your classmate needs the textbook, too!). 

3.  Prep your loved ones and get started!

One thing that really helped me focus during prep time (especially the month of the test) was to get my family and friends on board with my schedule. I had to forego a few fun outings and events because I needed to stay home and study, but it was so worth it in the end!!  Make sure you are 100% updated on what policies your university might have in place for your testing window. For example, my communication disorders program with WKU is very specific about when we could take our Praxis exam; we had a window of a timeframe from which to take our Praxis based on our projected date of graduation.

That's it for now but I have plenty more to say on the subject of the SLP Praxis, but that will be for a later post. I hope the above information listed thus far is helpful to you in the process of preparing for your Praxis!

May 5, 2013

It Begins...

I am so extremely excited to start this journey! After attending last year's national American Speech-Language Hearing Association convention in Atlanta, GA, I realized how truly important social media had become to our profession (and in our regular lives, even!).  I have gleamed so much insightful information from fellow students, SLPs, and those in similar professions through the use of electronic linked associations. I figured I would give it a shot and chronicle this journey as I approach my unofficial 'graduation' (I have the pleasure of participating in commencement early, as the summer term lacks a ceremony) this May.  With just a few obstacles to overcome before finally completing my masters degree with WKU, I can sense the light at the end of the tunnel at last!