Guest Blog Post by Rachel Wynn, MS CCC-SLP

It has been about three years since I completed graduate school. As a student, I learned a lot in graduate school and during my leveling courses; however, I have learned far more in the three years following graduation. There isn’t space in this blog post to explain everything I’ve learned. So today, I’m going to share the three things I learned that made the biggest impact on how I deliver care in general.

1. People should come before profits. I remember the ethics lectures in graduate school. It seemed so common sense to me. I figured these ethical dilemmas would happen occasionally. I’ve got a good head on my shoulders and a strong desire to advocate for social justice. Of course, people come before profits.

Not all companies and facilities consistently act on the belief people come before profits. It’s a frequent complaint in the community of therapists working in healthcare that productivity expectations seem to be more important than patient outcomes.

I highly recommend joining some of the Facebook forums (Adult Rehab Speech Therapy and Slpeeps) and reading some of the discussions about ethics. Just search for “ethics” or “productivity” within the forum. Having this awareness going into your interviews and first positions will be very helpful.

Learn more: ASHA’s Employer Demands in Healthcare and Good Work Conditions for Therapists

2. You have to meet people with dementia where they are. Dementia is a progressive disease. Whether or not people and their families have insight into deficits or are living in denial, we have to meet them where they are. We meet them in their confusion and delusions.

Meeting people with dementia where they are sometimes involves lying, and that’s okay. I frequently talk to family members about lying versus rationalizing. Many people want to always tell the truth and rationalize with family members. When people say they want to go home, families may try to rationalize that they are home. They live here now, etc.

This is the wrong approach. A better approach is to validate the person’s concern then distract. “Let’s eat dinner before you go home.” Validation can be calming. We all want to heard. Then distraction can set in. The key is to communicate in a way that resolves the problems and concerns that people with dementia feel they are experiencing.

I had a patient that told me she had no time for my therapy tasks. She had too many things to do. She felt she needed to be productive. She was agitated by continued attempts, so I set up a calendar system with her and her personal caregiver and put speech therapy on her calendar.

The next day I arrived at my scheduled appointment and had specific tasks for us to do that weren’t standard therapy. She followed directions and completed problem solving in making holiday cards. Then we worked on walking safely with her walker when we delivered the cards. It worked wonderfully. I heard her, validated her concerns, and met her where she was.

Learn more: Eden Alternative Equals Better Care for Elders and An Amazing Village Designed Just for People With Dementia

3. People die. Death is the ultimate rite of passage. Many people fear death. People and their families need someone to tell them they have choices. SLPs have an expertise in dysphagia that can help families make choices. Death isn’t a prescribed process. Respecting patient and family wishes at end of life is the best thing we can go to help them experience a good death.

I’ve worked with people who are at end of life and their bodies and mind are beginning to shut down. Some families want to fight until the very last moment. Terminal cancer in a 90-year-old beginning to experience multi-organ failure is just a reason to fight harder. After seeing families go through this, I have clearly communicated to my family members that this is not what I want.

I had an end of life and quality of life talk with a family recently. Sometimes, I feel a bit like the Grimm Reaper, because I enjoy these conversations. (They used to make me uncomfortable.) Death is certain, but I feel like I can do my part to empower the family and patient to experience a good death.

If they don't want thickened liquids, I can provide recommendations to make them as comfortable as possible with thin liquids. My job isn't always to prevent illness and death, sometimes the only focus is improving quality of life. What an incredible honor!

Learn more: Check out ASHA’s Patient Rights and Patient Choices.

Special Thanks to Rachel Wynn for writing a great blog post with her perspective pertaining to the geriatric population!

Rachel Wynn, MS CCC-SLP is speech-language pathologist specializing in geriatric care. She blogs at Gray Matter Therapy, which strives to provide information about geriatric care including functional treatment ideas, recent research, and ethical care. Rachel’s projects include: Gray Matter Therapy Newsletter, Research Tuesday, and Patient and Family Education Handouts. Find her coaching new SLPs, on Facebook, on Twitter, or hiking with her dog in Boulder, CO.

I have to admit that when I was going through graduate school I got what I considered to be the "paperwork blues."  I felt like there was never a day that would pass by where the paperwork was decreasing.  I felt like the man in this picture that is to the left, no matter where I would go, there was always more paperwork.  

So the tips provided below form the acronym PACES which is what helped me to manage the "paperwork blues"... 

1.  (P)rioritize
After you get  paperwork that you have to do for the day, week, month or year....  It is important that you prioritize what order you are going to complete each task.  Prioritizing can be based on deadline of paperwork, the amount of time it may take you to complete reports, or other factors.  I always like to prioritize first before doing anything else.

2.  (A)ttack
This tip speaks for itself, but you have to attack the paperwork so that you can be that much closer to completing the task.  The longer one delays or procrasitinates the longer it takes to complete the paperwork.

3.  (C)ompletion
Once you start the paperwork, fully complete each task in the order that you prioritized everything.  Unless, there is a project that comes up unexpectedly that is due before.

4. (E)xperience
After you complete your paperwork, celebrate the experience because it is exciting.  Whether you just completed a report that you know was awesome, or you wrote a lesson plan that you are excited to implement with your client...It is important to celebrate all paperwork experiences because they are helping to develop your skills as a Speech Language Pathologist.  

5. (S)chedule
Don't forget to schedule the next set of paperwork deadlines.  Also sometimes different strategies come up along the way that can be helpful to incorporate for the next set of paperwork.  This can help ease the "paperwork blues" the next time.  

Even after graduate school, I still continue to use the PACES acronym to help when I am completing my paperwork.  With all of the developing gadgets and latest technology on the rise, maybe one day we can decrease the amount of paperwork.  Until then....I guess there really is no escape from the paperwork.

Happy Wednesday Everyone and I am so happy to be back on track blogging.  Thank you for your continued support, looking forward to an amazing year of new followers and fun blog posts. 

Picture offers a great directory for you to search through different graduate programs for the field of Speech Language Pathology and other Masters programs. They have also listed online Masters programs for Speech Language Pathology.

 You can access the latest updates from on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.

Providing a resource to parents and professionals allows Speech Language Pathologists to be more efficient and effective to increase a student’s carry over into other environments.  Sometimes a challenge for Speech Language Pathologists can be that techniques and therapy materials are provided in speech sessions, but there is no follow up in other areas.  It is important for everyone to be consistent when providing information to parents and/or caretakers. It provides an online learning system that guides parents and children through the process of speech learningConsistency allows for a higher retention of learned skills for students.   

Speech Tails offers a great resource for Speech Language Pathologists to utilize with their students to provide the following:  

1.Speech Homework

2. Data Tracking

3. Practice tools to use in home environment.

I had the privilege of attending an e-Seminar presented by the Hanen Centre. In case you’re unfamiliar with Hanen, this non-profit organization produces a number of educational materials for SLPs, providing workshops, online training opportunities and resources to professionals who work with young children and their families across the globe. The e-Seminar, entitled “Make Words Sparkle for Preschoolers and Kindergarten Children: Bring Vocabulary to Life During Book Reading and Daily Interactions,” by Tamara Stein, M.Sc.(A) –SLP(C), was a two hour, live course packed with a lot of great information.  

The e-Seminar was interactive and engaging; throughout the course of the presentation, the instructor had us “raise our hand” to indicate whether we agreed/disagreed with a statement, ask questions, and to participate in surveys.

This e-Seminar provided a lot of great information! Below is some of the content that I am excited to implement within my therapy sessions.  

Selecting First Words
When we are teaching children first words it is important to find meaningful words related to his/her environment.  Also, it is vital that we continue to build on their vocabulary, gradually introducing new words.

Stepping up the Content Level
Adjusting the content level according to the child's stage of development is important to ensure that they are expanding their vocabulary.
Step 1: fast
Step 2: quick
Step 3: rapid

Selecting the Right Books
We want to get children excited about reading! Some of the tips that we can use include, but are not limited to:

-Choosing topics of interest
-Introducing new vocabulary 
-Choosing books with interesting illustrations

Multiple Exposures and Repetition
It is important to expose children to vocabulary in different environments and repeat the new words multiple times.
Labeling items while you are in different settings helps to increase opportunities for children to pair word meanings with real life experiences.

Use attributes to describe words to get a bigger picture of what is being described in the book.

For example the picture to the left displays grapes.

Word: Grapes
Category: Fruit
Describing words: Round, Green, They grow on a vine.

Special Thanks to the Hanen Centre and Tamara Stein for providing an informative e-Seminar.  I am looking forward to attending more of these sessions! For more information about Hanen online learning, including a training schedule and listing of topics, click here.

Find out the latest updates by following Hanen Centre on their social media networks:


"The Hanen Centre is a Canadian not-for-profit charitable organization committed to supporting parents, early childhood educators and speech-language pathologists in their efforts to promote the best possible language, social and literacy skills in young children" (Hanen Centre, 2011).

As a student it is difficult to stock up on therapy activities that require purchasing, because typically you are on a budget.  When I came across the website BudgetSLP I immediately thought this would be a great site to share.  Inexpensive resources can be just as beneficial as expensive resources especially when you are on a budget.

Diana stated, “I was always looking for low-cost therapy materials: I made my own games, articulation cards and most other therapy materials. This involved actual drawing, coloring, cutting (with scissors) and pasting (with glue) to create these materials.”  I read Diana’s about me section and it reminded me  of when I first started in the field and I am sure you all may be able to relate.

Below are some of the categories that Diana has on her blog:

Therapy Thoughts and Essentials

Language and Thematic

Articulation, Phonology, and Phonemic Awareness

Ipads and Apps

Assistive Technology

Six Weeks of Summer Activities

Resources to Pass to Parents

My Webpage

Blogs I Follow

Some of my favorite posts on this website are:
-Tuesday's Treasure Box: Three Links to Freebies
-Speech Homework: 25 Alternatives to Speech Folders 

-Free E-Books
-Six Weeks of Interactive Speech and Language Practice Activities (Apps Included!)
-Miami Dade:  Volumes of Visual Supports

Special Thanks to Diana to creating a great resource that provides inexpensive activities.
Follow her boards on Pinterest, Like the Budget SLP on Facebook and Get the Latest Updates on Twitter

This post was a collaboration with Katie Millican from SLP Echo.  Special Thanks to Katie for providing a lot of great tips that are pertinent to our favorite topic, Resume Writing.

Katie Millican, B.S. Ed., is a second year SLP graduate student at the University of West Georgia. She is moving to Alaska to complete her Clinical Fellowship experience in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District for the 2013-2014 school year. She is the author behind where she writes on topics to help inform future and current SLP graduate students, as well as iPad apps for use in therapy.

I remember asking other students in my cohort what their resume looked like. Asking, “Did you put XYZ on there? How did you describe it? Is it considered work experience if you didn't get paid?” When writing a resume, don’t try to re-invent the wheel. There are resources at your disposal to lessen the confusion of resume design, organization, and content.

Organization and Structure

Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers outstanding advice for designing the overall look of a resume.  First, scroll through the Resume  Workshop Presentation for every section of a basic resume and how to compose a unique-to-you resume. Then, check out their Resume Design post to learn about the Quadrant test, using columns, font selections, and the 20 second test.

Tailoring an SLP Resume

Tailoring a resume means highlighting strengths and weaknesses which make you uniquely qualified for the position. Consider the employer – Are you applying to a school district or health care employer? Each place of employment might have a different need for posting the position. While many people keep one resume for every job they apply to, tailoring can make you stand out. Now, here are some basic guidelines for tailoring a resume:

1.      Review the Purdue OWL structure and organization of a resume

2.      Include the basic factual information from previous clinical experience and/or internships (i.e. name of employer, dates worked, location, supervisor, etc)

3.      Now, as you search for a a desired SLP position posting online (when available), save and refer back to the description. For instance, below is an example pulled from an online posting for a school-based SLP. 

1.      Once you decide to apply, pin-point the main skills and requirements the employer is looking for based on the description provided. For example, in the above listing, “research” seems to be a large emphasis in this school district, as many bullet-points highlight evidence, journals, statistical analysis, and data collection.

a.       Often, job postings are vague or limited to “Seeking full-time SLP for in-patient rehabilitation” or something to that effect. In that case, I would use the ASHA Scope of Practice for pin-pointing notable skills for mention relevant to previous experience.

2.      On your resume, under each experience, include verbatium verbage from their own description as it relates to your clinical experience. To expand on the example above, for instance, you might put something to the extent of: 

Obviously, you don’t want to make things up if your job never included the duties, but then again, almost every SLP job includes evidence-based approaches, working with culturally and linguistically diverse clientele  creating short and long term goals, and working under educational or government regulations like IDEA and HIPAA. It’s all in the wording! 

Keywords and Action Words are KEY
It is important to develop a list of keywords and action words to incorporate into your resume.  There are many websites that provide a list of keywords and action words under various categories.  The importance of these words is they highlight the skills that you possess and draw the employer to your resume.

Examples of how to incorporate keywords and action verbs into your resume:

1. Keywords: Intervention, strategies, family

Action Verbs: Educated, facilitate
· Educated family members of individuals with Aphasia on specific intervention strategies to facilitate active involvement

2.      Key Words: Graduate students, speech pathology, clinical
Action Verb: Supervised
· Supervised graduate students in speech pathology program during their clinical rotations

3. Key Words: confidential documents, filing, accurately
Action Verbs: Organized, maintained
· Organized and accurately maintained filing system of confidential documents

Boston College and Wake Forest University organized a list of action verbs that could be incorporated into your resume .

Boston College’s Resume Action Verbs
Wake Forest University’s List of Action Verbs for Resumes and Professional Profiles

In addition to descriptions under jobs, Linkedin is a great resource to use to develop keywords to incorporate into your resume.  To get to the Skills and Expertise Section on Linkedin, follow the steps below:

Log in to your Linkedin Account and click on More (located in the top toolbar) 

1.      In the Drop down menu under More, click on Skills & Expertise

2.      When you get to the Skills & Expertise screen you can type in a keyword and other similar skills will populate based on what you typed into the search box.

How Long Should My Resume Be?

At some point, a transition from one to two page resumes lends itself to three and four page resumes. The more experience, professional development, and skills acquired automatically increases the length of a resume. However, I think the Purdue OWL’s 20 second rule still applies, no matter how many pages. Employers or Human Resource people want to see relevant experience and how recent/dates, education level, professional development, and other components correspond to the job.

The above job description and duties example appeared on the Disctrict of Columbia Public Schools website for a position as a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist, posted May 2, 2013.

Additional Resources:
The Chronicle of Higher Education: First Time on the Market

Resume Builder

Sample Resumes:

File Size: 40 kb
File Type: docx
Download File

File Size: 30 kb
File Type: docx
Download File

I am excited to write this post, because it seems like just yesterday when I was walking across the stage.  There is no better feeling of putting on the attire for graduation and the stands filled with individuals that have gathered together to celebrate your success. 

There are some students that may have different circumstances, for whatever reason they are not able to walk across the stage.  It is just as important to celebrate your success as well, because you may still be receiving a diploma, but just at a later date.  

Here are the Seven Lessons that Changed my Life...

1. Smile, Even When Life May Get a Little Messy
This one is self-explanatory...if you can find the strength to always smile, even when it seems like everything may be falling apart.

2. Don't Forget to Give Back 
Always remember where you started and where you are now.  I am a firm believer that I am never too busy to give back, there is always a way.  Sometimes it can be as simple as sharing your story with someone or advice that has helped you along the way.

3. Don't Take Life too Seriously that you Forget to Laugh Along the Way.
Believe me, I think this one is one of my favorite.  

4.  After you Receive your Degree...Don't Stop Learning
I had a student recently email me a new resource this week entitled College Student Study Tips  I was so excited to read about a new resource.  Special Thanks to Nicole for showing me a new resource.  Which leads me to my next lesson.

You have that piece of paper, well done.  I think I have learned even more from being out of school.  I always say learn one new thing a day, even if it is a life lesson :)

5. Always Remember to Say these Two Words: Thank You

6. Sometimes you May have to Travel Alone.

It is not always easy to stand alone, but sometimes it is is just as important as working as a team.  I think it is important to know  how to stand alone and to realize that sometimes we have to take a detour to find our way in life.

7.  Don't Stop Growing

Congratulations to the Class of 2013, Reach for the Sky and Don't Stop Growing!!!!


I loved this visual that Presence Learning created and I wanted to share.  Special Thanks to Presence Learning for allowing me to share this visual.  Also stay tuned to their upcoming blog posts and  webinars, I was able to attend their last free webinar that discussed  "Managing Workloads in a Caseload-Driven World".
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday.  On May 25, 2013, Home CEU Connection will be holding a webinar by Ana Paula Mumy that will discuss "Surviving your Clinical Fellowship Year:  A Focus on Schools".  

This webinar is 2 contact hours in length (check your state’s approval status in the state specific course catalog for your profession) 

Course Goals:
This course is intended to give Clinical Fellows a framework for organization, productivity, creativity and visibility to guide them through their clinical fellowship, promoting confidence and effectiveness.

Professional Objectives:
At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:
  1. List two organizational tools to build structure and enhance productivity in the provision of services.
  2. Identify two ways of merging speech/language goals with classroom content so they’re functional and educationally relevant.
  3. Identify two ways of increasing visibility in the school community for more effective communication and collaboration with teachers and administrators.

When:  Saturday, May 25, 2013 from 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. ET

Below is the link if you would like to sign up for the webinar

About Ana Paula Mumy:
Ana Paula Mumy is a trilingual Speech-Language Pathologist, receiving her Master of Science, Communication Disorders – Speech/Language Pathology degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is the author of various continuing education eCourses, leveled storybooks, and instructional therapy materials for speech/language intervention, as well as the co-author of her latest eSongbook, which features children's songs for speech, language and hearing goals. She also works as a Multilingual Speech/Language Evaluator and Consultant and completes speech/language evaluations for bilingual students and collaborates with referring SLPs to determine appropriate placement and therapy recommendations. She has provided private, school-based, and pediatric home health care services for more than 12 years.