Archive for category grad school
Yes, I’ve missed a few summary-of-grad-school posts. But, never fear, I’m still in grad school. However, the workload is quite heavy, and life is quite busy, and sometimes I just don’t want to write about it. 🙂
Semester 4 of 6 has a very nice ring to it! This semester, I have Voice Disorders, Dysfluency, and Seminary in Phonology. Whether it’s just luck of the draw or a near-end attempt to frighten us off, I’m not sure, but this is a particularly intense semester. I also will start my first externship in just a week, adding to my paperwork load immensely. The first one, thankfully, is also my job, so it won’t add to what I’m already used to doing (aside from the great increase in the amount of paperwork!)
I am glad to be taking all three classes, though the work load is intense. I can do anything for 14 more weeks.
Voice Disorders: This class has a somewhat confusing set-up for study preparation and assignment organization. I’m still mostly sure I’m forgetting something, or misunderstanding something. My class is on Tuesday evening. By Tuesday, then, I need to: finish watching the Tegrity lecture on Anatomy, finish reading Chapter 2 in the text, watch the Tegrity lecture on Voice Disorders, read 2 pdf documents and 2 Word documents. No assignments due, just keeping up with the material, because the first quiz is coming up the week after.
Dysfluency: This class is rather straight-forward as to what to do when, which is helpful. Class is also on Tuesday night. Before then, I need to: finish reading Chapter 5 in the text, answer three discussion board questions, and read Chapter 3 in the text.
Phonology: We have our first class meeting with our instructor on Monday! Before then, I need to: review the lecture she provided for us since Monday was Labor day and we had no class. And that’s it, really! I’m mostly caught up, I think.
Externship: Next week I want to get my system for recording hours set up, so that it’s not overwhelming when I start. I also need to write my goals and upload them.
For fun and games, I should put what I need to do for work in here, too. But I won’t. If I don’t acknowledge it, it doesn’t exist. (I’ll break the truth to myself later. It’s the weekend, I’m going to enjoy!)
Seminar in Child Language: Final grade A, 97%
This class grade was a bit of a wildcard for me, as I did not do as well as I’d like on the midterm. But our final format was much different, and played right into my strengths–writing and talking about myself. Ha. I ended up with full credit on everything but the first midterm, and my grade ended up right where I wanted it.
So, to sum up, I love child language, and I love this textbook, which means I really loved what I learned in this class. I had covered the first half of my textbook in a class I took last summer as a prerequisite for grad school, and so studying it again meant I have an even better grasp on the material. For this class, we had weekly assignments, two very practical projects, a midterm, a final, and participation points.
The weekly assignments asked questions about each week’s reading. Most of the time I tried to read the chapter first before answering the questions, but as time is often short, I sometimes just found the applicable section in the text and then answered the question. However, in the later chapters that I hadn’t yet read, I tried to read them all. I know for my personal benefit, I need to read the later chapters again, to really get the most out of them. While it’s a textbook, and incredibly dense with information, I find it pretty easy to read, so that’s not a task that is too overwhelming. The question is really about when I’ll read it. I still need this down time, and then when summer classes start, my time is again short. I suppose it might remain on the to-read list for sometime in the fall of 2012.
The assignments, as I said, were incredibly practical. The first was to make a therapeutic treatment product. I made a photo pronouns book, which I have used a lot already, and use for far more than pronouns, including verbs, simple sentences, third person singular verbs, requesting, asking and answering questions, and vocabulary. Most of the kids also really enjoy that the pictures are of my family, and it provides a chance for some general conversation about families. Here are a few pages as an example:
Maybe I need to have a conversation about playing guitar in pajamas…
The second project was much bigger in scope and in points (25 points for the tx product, 100 points for the research project). Our assignment was to create a Research Resource Binder; my topic was on Early Literacy and the SLP. I had to find at least 25 resources, review them, and compile them into a document. Then it all had to be put together into a binder (I printed the articles and some articles, gave a first page or sample for other resources), and a powerpoint presentation put together to show off the binder and discuss the purpose, what was learned, etc. Finally, we had to write a 2-page reflection paper, a more complete telling than the powerpoint.
It took a lot of time to complete, but I am very thankful for doing it. I learned so much! While I might not complete a binder that is so thorough, the concept of this kind of research is very appealing to me. A binder also provides a place in which to file new resources when they are received, to be able to refer to them later. I’d like to start a general binder for many topics, either electronically, where I get myself to set up folders, put articles and reviews and websites, etc into the appropriate folder, or actual binders.
Here I am contemplating the wealth of knowledge contained in my new binder, before I turned it in. Notice the dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep…
And here is the finished binder. It’s big!
As I mentioned, the midterm in this class was not my best. It was true/false, multiple choice, and short answer. I made some silly mistakes and some mistakes from which I learned. However, the final was right up my alley. I feel bad about loving it so much, as many of my classmates hated it. But, it’s just my style. I had to write about things I had learned this semester, according to specific parameters in 3 questions. We had a page limit of 4 pages, double spaced, and that was the hardest part for me. I could have easily filled 4 pages single-spaced, with 10-point font and .5 inch margins. Being held to APA formatting was difficult. I did it, however, and really enjoyed the process of writing it and reflecting upon what I learned.
Motor Speech Disorders: Final grade A, 97%
In this class, we learned about all 7 types of dysarthria as well as apraxia. We watched a lot of video clips (which, darn it, never streamed properly live, and I always had to go back and watch them again), and learned about differential diagnosis for these motor speech disorders. I know that when faced with this kind of assessment in clinical practice, I will be sitting with my textbook and notes and listening to an audio recording over and over–it’s going to take time to really learn it so my ears remember each type without notes! However, maybe because I had to listen to clips over and over, I do have a good start.
We also learned a lot about various etiologies that may lead to a motor speech disorder. We had two projects for the class (along with a midterm and a final). The first was on the “medical background information of a disorder, disease, condition that produces a motor speech disorder.” I chose Guillain-Barré Syndrome. And I was about to say, “too bad I can’t share it on the blog,” but I think I can share it. Well, kind of. You actually have to download it to your computer. I am not sure how to embed a ppt in a post, if in fact that’s even possible.
The second project was on “the speech therapy approach that would be used to treat topics addressed in project 1.” I had a lot of fun with this project, and really learned a lot more about treatment.
During class, we all theoretically presented one of our projects. I say theoretically, because though the week I presented (the first week, on my first project) went smoothly, after that Adobe Connect had some sort of problem every week. Some people didn’t get to present at all; some experienced technical difficulties when trying (the mic wouldn’t work at all); some had the pleasure of having Adobe Connect fail to, well, connect, during their presentation. However, we do get to download all of the presentations to review and save for further knowledge.
As with Dysphagia, my knowledge base for this class was lower: it’s not something with which I have a lot of experience from working in public schools. I look forward to using this knowledge in future placements, as well as for those few cases where it is relevant in the schools (and it does happen).
This semester is officially over, as my grades are all complete. Here is the breakdown of what I learned this semester, broken up into three posts, so as not to be too hard on the eyes, and allow me to be as wordy as I want.
Dysphagia: Final grade A, 100%
This was a great class! My knowledge base of dysphagia (disorder of swallowing) was very, very shallow when we started, so I anticipated it would be a hard class, as I had a lot to learn. While I definitely learned a lot, this professor is great, and it was presented in a way that made it easy to learn. I know I mentioned it in an earlier blog post this semester, but learning about the swallow was fascinating and fun!
In this class, we had a midterm, a final, several smaller assignments (writing responses to a video, for example), an anatomy quiz, and the clinical exam, where we had to perform the exam under supervision of an SLP. That was the most difficult part, because I had to arrange it on my own, not a strength of mine. What finally happened was that I did the exam at work, and asked an SLP who works at a different school, but has years of hospital work and still does PRN at the hospital, to supervise. It ended up being a great experience! This was not a new diagnosis, but this child recently had some diet changes, his teacher had asked me some questions, and it seemed the perfect time to learn more about him. The school SLP does not really often get involved in swallowing treatment, but I learned about ways that I can be involved, and how I can be an advocate for swallowing safety at school, along with things I can do to help facilitate growth, even though I’m not likely going to do actual swallowing treatment. (though, to be sure, I think the ability to swallow safely has a pretty profound educational impact!)
Anyway, I did the exam the day the project was due, in true form. I’d call it procrastination, but I feel like it’s not quite that, when every moment is filled. It’s just a matter of prioritizing what has to be done when, and this didn’t have to be done until that point. I spent the rest of the semester preparing and learning what I needed to know. I write quickly, so the actual write-up of the 5-page paper was possible. And clearly it went well, as I did get full credit.
Do I feel prepared to take on dysphagia cases in a clinical setting? Well, yes and no. I would have a pretty steep learning curve if I was thrown into a situation where I had no one else to consult, but that won’t happen. That’s what the clinical externship placement will be for–to give me the experience in a situation where I’m still learning. However, I definitely have the background now to be able to do a lot! I know the anatomy and physiology. I know what might be going wrong. I know how to do the bedside swallow exam. I know about treatment techniques, and how to decide which technique would be appropriate. I learned about treatment from NICU to Skilled Nursing Facilities. I know about how the Modified Barium Swallow Study works, along with the Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing. However, I have not performed either of them, nor have I seen them performed, or any other instrumental evaluation. That is where I hope to gain experience in my hospital placement (probably Summer 2012).
In learning more about dysphagia, I also found a great Facebook page about Dysphagia Therapy, where I have also learned a lot. Also, for our final our class created a resource guide for many web pages, books, blogs, products, classes, and CEU options related to dysphagia. It’s great to leave the class with something else so practical. In the field of SLP in general, including dysphagia, it is critical to keep up with continuing education. The treatment of dysphagia is always growing by continued research and study. I look forward to many years of learning more, now that I have the knowledge to be able to learn more from these sources.
Today marks the first of thirty days where I gain an extra 20 hours a week (some weeks a lot more, some weeks a little less) to do whatever I want. Twenty hours where I don’t have anything in particular that I have to do. That’s right, it’s semester break! Astute readers may notice that it’s been quite some time since my last post. My good intentions of posting regularly fell away as the semester went on, consuming every moment of my time. I was either doing work, or actively avoiding doing work, at which time I have no energy to do anything productive, including blog. I’d like to believe it was a particularly hard semester, but I’m not fooling myself. I don’t think there will be any easy semesters from here on out.
But right this moment, I’m indulging in thinking about what I will do in the next 30 days. Being married to a pastor (and having spent my whole life listening to at least a sermon a week from some pastor) has its benefits. There are also downfalls, like thinking of everything in sermon bullet points, best if they start with the same letter or sound. So as I think about what I want to do, I keep finding myself building on letter categories.
In these thirty days, I will: Run, Read, Relax, Rest. Those of you who are Facebook friends–OK, nearly all of you–might recognize that as a status update from last December. I’m feeling particularly creative today, though, and I’ve thought of some more.
First, I’d add Write and Recipes to the Rs. Cooking and writing are very restful to me, and trying out new recipes is always fun, but something I do less when I am very busy.
Or, I was considering:
- Kids, Cook, Creative projects, Coffee, Clean
That one breaks down a little at the end (I’m sure my husband broke out into laughter when he thought about me finding cleaning fun…), so I thought I’d try again.
- Games, Gardening, Groaning with laughter after watching favorite TV shows I’ve neglected
- Sleep, Sun, Scrabble (OK, Words With Friends, but work with me here), Sit around and do nothing (probably most accurate!)
- Dates with my husband, Dreams (as I sleep more)
- Early to bed, Eat, Energy
- Family, Friends, Facebook, Fun
After much consideration, though, I’ve decided to stay with the “th” theme, to connect to my thirty days. Here are my general plans for this semester break.
- Thank. I will thank Carl for being such a wonderful support during this time, and the summer to come. I’m not quite sure what exactly that will look like, but I know he would appreciate help with the laundry, organizing my clutter that has accumulated, and more time spent together in the evenings. Consistent date nights where I’m not thinking about the work I’ll do when I get home will also be attempted.
- Three. This one is for the kids. I try to be present as much as I can, but I know I’m distracted a lot when in classes. So, for thirty days (and then for the two weeks before leaving for boot camp when I am out of school-work), I want to read books, play games, do projects, go to the library, go for bike rides and walks, snuggle more, and spend great time with my three wonderful children. The only activity we currently have going on is soccer for Humorous Thinker, so we’ll have plenty of time together.
- Think. I will leave time to think about whatever I want to think about. It might include topics related to Speech-Language Pathology (let’s be realistic here), but will also include time in Bible study, reading about education, and any other topic which might inspire me. I learned over winter break that it took me time to be able to read fiction, after being so engrossed in studies, and I wasted a lot of time where I just couldn’t get into a book. So this time, I’m starting with nonfiction (first up is that Tiger Mother book I’ve heard so much about), and I might add a fiction book after a week or two, if I find one to inspire. And I will hopefully spend some time thinking and writing, because that is an enjoyable activity for me.
- Therapy. OK, I still have to work during all thirty of these days. But I don’t have enough time at work these days (caseload = over 100!) to really put as much time into planning as I’d like. And it’s the end of the year, which means progress reports soon, and more IEPs than I care to imagine. So to keep myself from feeling stressed out at work, at least a little bit of my thirty days will be devoted to being better at what I love to do.
- Thigh. The only tie-in I could think of for running. I will work my thighs, and the rest of my legs, and my lungs, and throw myself back into running. Though I’ll be busy this summer at boot camp, I want to establish a pattern in the almost-two months before it begins. I know I’ll need the time running when I’m there.
- Thousand. OK, if I do the math, it’s more like 240, but it will feel like a thousand. I want to get a good 8 hours of sleep each night, but I’ll settle for as many as it takes to feel rested. I’ll still drink coffee, but only because I love it, not because I need it.
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.
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.
I missed writing last week’s grad school update post. Which actually did result in less efficiency and organization for me: I completed one assignment just before the deadline, and didn’t read two chapters. I clearly need the weekly accountability of this post.
Dysphagia: We had no class on February 10th. I did not use the time to get caught up on my reading, however, nor to complete the assignment that was due on the 17th. I think on that night I relaxed and went to bed early, which is not necessarily a bad thing. This week in class, we moved on from discussing the anatomy and physiology of the swallowing mechanism to disorders of the swallowing mechanism. I was pretty tired, and I think I need to watch the lecture again. I didn’t even “multi-task” during the lecture (e.g., read other things during the lecture time…), and I still can’t give details about what we discussed. I have the PowerPoint notes, but I don’t even know for sure if we got all of the way through them. So, I must watch again. I had to complete a discussion board post analyzing a video about the anatomy and physiology, and we had a quiz that I completed Friday night, on the anatomical structures.
Motor Speech Disorders: On February 9th, we talked about assessment and watched another video. Again, my connection did not keep up with the video live, and I had to watch the video after class. Except I haven’t done that yet, because I didn’t post about it. This week, we discussed Flaccid Dysarthria. After first learning about what causes it (lower motor neuron damage), the many characteristics of it (breathiness and hypernasality, to name just a few), we then watched several video clips of different patients with flaccid dysarthria. My connection kept up, for the most part, which was nice. It was a good class, but felt a little overwhelming. Perhaps more clarity will be gained throughout the semester, but there are 7 different types of dysarthria. I was thinking that each type would sound quite similar (such as, all those with flaccid dysarthria would sound similar), but that wasn’t the case at all. I was surprised by how much variation there was within just the 3-4 clips we watched. The diagnosis of dysarthria is going to prove to be a difficult task. If I were writing exams in this class, I would definitely include watching video clips and determining the type of dysarthria, and so I’m trying to approach this class as if that’s what will happen. Which means I need to review the clips we watched several more times, until I can hear the similarities.
Seminar in Child Language: On February 8th, we discussed Evaluation and Assessment. We also had completed a discussion board post before class on the same topic. For the discussion board, we read a brief social-developmental history, and wrote a summary paragraph, as would be done in a report. We also made an assessment of severity based on a brief description and test scores of another hypothetical client. It wasn’t hard, until during class when I realized (along with a few others) that the date on the history was from 2010, and so the client was actually 15 months old, not 2;3. Thankfully we weren’t assessing severity of that client, because her language was quite delayed if she was 2;3, but not so significant, if at all, at 15 months.
This past week, we were supposed to be discussing Principles of Intervention, but she canceled the class. We should be able to watch a recording of another section of the class, but I haven’t done so yet. Our discussion board post discussed prioritization of goals.
So, my to do list this week:
Sem Child Lang: Watch the Intervention lecture. Read chapters 4 & 5 by Tuesday (no small undertaking! 100 pages of dense text.) I did not read these chapters this summer, so it’s all new reading. By Tuesday, do discussion board post. The syllabus also indicates there are two articles to read (on Down Syndrome and Autism), but I haven’t yet checked course documents on Blackboard to see if they are posted. Read those, if they are up. Oh, and I have 5 more resources due for my research project. My therapeutic project is due the following week, so I also need to finish that. I have the pictures for it, but I have to put it together, then take pictures of my product and put together a PowerPoint. Looks like I’ll be putting a lot of time into this class before Tuesday.
Motor Speech Disorders: Finish chapter 4 (last week’s lecture), read chapters 5-6 for class on Wednesday. Get caught up on all videos not yet watched. Rewatch the clips on flaccid dysarthria until I have a better grasp on the characteristics. Keep up with researching Guillian-Barre Syndrome for my project (first powerpoint due on March 30th). I also need to print several copies of the Mayo clinic rating scale to use during class. I forgot this week, until we were in class, and then I couldn’t print because my computer was on the wrong connection (the guest network at our house) to access the printer. Switching networks would log me out of class. Possible to do, but a pain. I couldn’t keep track on the word document, because it’s a scan/picture of the form. So, the printer it is.
Dysphagia: Read chapters 3-5. Watch last week’s lecture again. Watch the second video posted on Blackboard, and complete discussion board post.
That’s quite a week! And that doesn’t even get me ahead of the game, just caught up.
In addition I think I need to be printing out lecture notes to reference during class. It seems like a waste of paper, because they are on the screen on Adobe Connect, plus I have the files on my computer. However, I need to find some way to take notes during class that makes sense. Perhaps I could type into the powerpoint during class, but minimizing the Adobe Connect screen so as to have a powerpoint visible at the same time makes it more difficult to read. I might give it a try, in the name of the trees.