Archive for March, 2011

Grad School catch-up post

It’s been a few weeks, and I could just go forward.  But since I do this for me, it’s a good review to remember what I’ve already learned, and what I need to get done.  So, here goes.

Seminar in Childhood Language:

February 22: we discussed Chapter 4 in Rhea Paul’s Language Disorders from Infancy to Adolescence, which is about Special Populations.  I also had due 5 additional resources and a Discussion Board post.  However, it was a busy weekend, and I opted to skip this Discussion Board–we actually have to skip two of them, as we are graded on 10, but there are 12 given.   It was a decent question, to compare and contrast two of the different disorders discussed in the book.  I even did most of it, but I didn’t have time to really finish it, and so I opted to just  not complete it.  What is interesting is that we’re mostly graded on doing it, not on the actual content.  Or at least, that’s what I assume, since I’ve always gotten the full 5 point credit, both this semester and last.  I’m sure I could have turned it in as it was, though I personally found it inferior.   However, I did get my 5 resources turned in on time.  I really am enjoying this project.  I felt great about this second set of 5 resources.  I really feel I’ll understand literacy and the SLP a lot more completely when this project is done, which is, of course, the goal.

March 1: We discussed Chapter 5, which could be my favorite grad school reading thus far.  The chapter is entitled, Child Language Disorders in a Pluralistic Society, and details language differences versus language disorders.  There are very helpful charts outlining the language differences from various cultures and ethnic groups that I find invaluable.  I am going to photocopy them (for my own use only!) and staple them together, so that I can easily refer to them in my own work.  What I found most interesting was the pragmatic differences.  For example, one major pragmatic difference between AAE (African American English) and SAE (Standard American English) is the use of silence.  Speakers of AAE may use silence as a means to refute an accusation, whereas silence in SAE may allude to an admission of guilt.  I think sharing a knowledge of different uses of pragmatics in different cultures is a critical role for SLPs in the schools.  I’ve heard a lot of teachers get down on students because they aren’t looking at them, or aren’t answering an accusation, and think it conveys guilt, or a belligerent attitude.  I also had to complete a discussion board post, which I did do this week.

I also turned in my PowerPoint for my Therapeutic project.  I made a photo pronouns book, and I had a lot of fun doing it!  I still don’t have a grade on it, but my students have really enjoyed the book in therapy.  It was fun to make, too, as I used pictures of my own children.

Motor Speech Disorders:

We keep moving through the different types of dysarthria.  February 16th was flaccid dysarthria, and February 23rd was ataxic dysarthria.  I’ve got a midterm coming up in this class, and I’m getting nervous!  Each class is very little actual lecture, and a lot listening to different clips.  It still seems so subjective to me;  I wouldn’t be able to diagnose the difference in an assessment.  I need a lot more listening and practice.

Dysphagia:

Feb 24: We covered Screening and Assessment (Oral Motor Examination).  It seems like one area of SLP where the screening is a vital part of the process.  Sure, we screen in the schools, but the language screeners are often really quick, and sometimes completely informal (ask the kid a few questions).  However, I can understand–an assessment for dysphagia is a lot more involved medically, and you want to be fairly certain that those you assess actually need to be assessed, and that those you choose not to assess really don’t need an assessment.

March 3: There were technical difficulties at the beginning of class, always a risk in online classes, I suppose.  However, she got it worked out, and we learned about the Bedside Swallow Exam, aka Clinical Bedside Evaluation.  This was a very critical lecture, as we are required to perform a CBE as part of our grade.  It feels a little overwhelming, but then we watched a video of a CBE, and that wasn’t so overwhelming.  There is a lot to remember, but with practice I know I can.  I’m supposed to be practicing on anyone who will let me near them.  Starting with my husband and kids, as soon as I collect the necessary supplies, and continuing on to anyone friendly-ish.  Watch out, friendly-ish people who live near me!

I also had some homework due in this two week period–watching another video and complete a discussion board post, and completing a few screening mazes.  They were actually pretty fun: a choose-your-own adventure in the world of dysphagia.  I did well on the quiz, as well.

My to-do list:

Sem Child Lang:  I’ve already read chapter 6, which we will discuss this week.  I need to complete the discussion board post still, by Tuesday. I think that we may also discuss Chapter 7, which I haven’t read yet.  Our midterm starts March 18, and will cover chapter 7, even if we don’t get to discuss it, so I need to get it read, regardless– that’s a total of 112 pages of dense reading. The midterm period is through March 24th.  I feel pretty confident for this midterm.  Not that I won’t study, of course. But I’ve kept up with the reading, and I’ve got enough background knowledge that it is easy to learn the new information.  The week following our midterm window I will need to have another 5 resources done, so I would like to be working on them.  I know what one of them will be, but I need more research articles still and need to spend time finding the articles I want to include, and reading them.

Motor Speech Disorders:  This week I need to read Chapters 8, 9, and 10.  Thankfully, they are quick chapters to read (not nearly as dense as the reading for Language Disorders), but it’s still 75 pages.  My midterm window for this class is March 20-27, and my project is then due on March 30th.  There is a lot of work required in the next two weeks!  For the midterm, I need to review the text, but also listen to the samples again and again, until I really feel like I have it down.  For the project, I need to do it.  I have started some research, but not nearly enough to put together a PowerPoint yet.

Dysphagia: I am actually not quite sure what my reading is for this week.  What is written on the syllabus doesn’t make much sense with the topic, which is Instrumental Assessment – MBS & FEEST.  I think it should be Chapter 5, which is only 30 pages, so not too bad.  It looks like after class I’ll have a video to watch and on which to complete a discussion board post.  And I must–MUST–make some concrete progress this week on securing my location for completing a CBE.  It is difficult for me to think about when I’m at work, because there are about 100 things I need to do at work.  Maybe more like 1000.  But, it’s a critical portion of this class, so I need to just do it.  I also need to be practicing the CBE and OME on anyone and everyone.

 
So, there it is.  It looks like a week to read, read, read.  And maybe not so much of my two nonfiction books waiting for me.   I’m again thankful that I don’t care too much about watching TV, since I’ll have no time to do it.  Except maybe the NCAA tournament, starting this week.  In which case, it’s a good thing I can watch sports in the background while I read, since I’ll be reading a lot this week.

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Spring Break #1–Book Reviews

I had glorious plans of getting ahead in all of my class reading this week.  Unfortunately, spring break in one setting (grad school) but not the other (school-work) did not lead to an overabundance of energy.  I did do some work, but mostly I went to bed earlier, and I read other books, and at the end of the week I got a cold.

I do feel rested, though, which is a blessing.  Perhaps that is just the result of a cold, which led me to going to bed at 9pm on Thursday night, a 2 hour nap on Friday afternoon, lying in bed the rest of the evening, sleeping a full night’s sleep on Friday night, a 2 hour nap on Saturday morning, along with doing pretty much nothing all day Saturday.  I’ll take it, though!  I feel better today.  A cold always hits me the hardest on the first few days, where  feel exhausted.  Then, the residual effects are mild, and I can make it.

At any rate, reading for pleasure was fun this week.  Over winter break, I had a really hard time getting any reading done.  I couldn’t get into any book I tried.  This week, even with all of the work for school, I read several.  However, they were all nonfiction, a genre I enjoy, and I still couldn’t get into a fiction book.  Interesting.

Between Expectations: Lessons from a Pediatric Residency was first up.  For whatever reason, I love reading about the experiences of doctors or med students.  I briefly wanted to be a doctor somewhere in my childhood, but it was a brief stage, and even by high school never considered the field of medicine.  However, I still love reading about it!  I enjoyed Meghan MacLean Weir’s writing, and thought she did well conveying the difficulty and how she learned as well.

When did I get like this? was next on my list of conquered books.  This book, by Amy Wilson, is a collection of essays about parenting.  I found them interesting, and meant to be vulnerable.  I enjoy most parenting books, but recognize that most come from a very one-sided point-of-view, and will advance that view at all costs.  Books on Attachment Parenting (a parenting style to which I mostly adhere, by the way) will promote Attachment Parenting, at all costs.  Books on Homeschooling promote homeschooling, and so on.  This book provides a real-life take on many current issues in parenting (breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, even), and gives probably a more accurate picture of how parenting looks when done by real people.  Amy Wilson is vulnerable with her struggles, especially with her feelings of inferiority.  I enjoyed reading the book, and it went quickly.

I scanned two cookbooks: Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, which I had checked out once before, and Free for All Cooking, new to me.  I love the Gluten Free Girl blog and enjoy most of their recipes.  The cookbook includes a lot of dinner recipes that don’t work for my family, for various reasons, but it was still fun to read, and to look at all of the pictures.  It inspired me to put polenta on the menu for this week (though I make polenta often enough and don’t need a recipe).  I’m mostly excited for their next cookbook, which will likely be in the line of what is currently being shared on the blog: whole-grain, and without xanthan or guar gum.

Free for All Cooking looked like a decent resource for someone just starting out, but wasn’t too helpful to me.  Her flour mix is mostly starch and white rice flour, which is not how I do gluten-free baking.  Since, then, all of her recipes were tested using that style of mix, I didn’t have too much inspiration to try them out with a mostly-whole-grains mix like I use.

And then I started two more books.  The first, A Chance to Make History, is about Teach for America in specific, and education in general.  I also enjoy reading about education, and so far am enjoying the book.  It takes my mind off of the current mess of education here in Indiana, at least.  And finally, I started Run Like a Mother last night.  I am loving it, and it is providing just what I needed to get going on my running after a pretty much no-run winter.  In general, I love reading about running (hmm, sense a theme here on my chosen nonfiction?  I wonder if there’s any genre about which I wouldn’t claim to love reading?*), and this book is funny and inspirational.  I’m early in the book, but so far I haven’t really learned anything new.  It’s nice, however, to read from others who really get it, and think like me–I felt on the same wavelength from the opening chapter of the early-morning struggle between run and sleep; even with the knowledge that a run will lead to a better day it’s a struggle every morning.

It’s been fun, and I hope to keep going on the last two books this week, even as I immerse myself back into Dysphagia, Motor Speech Disorders, and Language Disorders.  Thankfully, I also love reading about speech-language pathology.

 

*maybe history?  I love reading historical fiction, but I’m not big on reading nonfiction history.  Unless it’s more biographical in nature, in which case I love it.  Oh, and money.  I really can’t think of many economics nonfiction books I’ve chosen to read.  Well, except maybe Freakonomics, which Carl and I “read” on audiobook.   I think there’s probably a qualification for any topic–I might not in general choose Economics, but the right book can pull me right in.  What’s your favorite genre of nonfiction?

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