Sunday, August 24, 2014

FAQs (Part 2): I'm Starting Grad School

Question: What is the best way to study for the Praxis? When do you think is the best time to take the Praxis so that a student isn't overwhelmed with exams and comps at the same time? Was it difficult to manage studying that on top of other coursework and exams?
Answer: For the Praxis, I used the yellow and purple book ("Advanced Review of Speech Language Pathology"). ETS also sells practice tests that are very helpful to take before the actual test! Overall, my program prepared me well for the Praxis. I did not have to do a significant amount of additional studying. However, everyone is different in terms of their program preparation level, multiple-choice test-taking skills, etc. Many students in my program chose to take the Praxis during winter break between on-campus clinic and off-campus clinic. Our university was closed from about December 18th-January 22nd. I took it during my first off-campus practicum. At that point, I was done with all of my courses and did not have any other exams to study for. 
Question: When did you start your job hunt for a CF? Did you reach out to specific institutions or did you simply respond to online job postings? Do you feel there is a lot of competition out there for medical CF positions?
Answer: I started looking right before my second off-campus placement began. I reached out to both specific schools and looked online. I feel that there is a lot of competition for medical CF positions. I have heard that it is easier to find a CF at a skilled nursing facility than a hospital.
Question: What do you think is the best way to network during grad school?

Answer: Have good relationships with your clinical supervisors! This is so important because they are the people that will be your references. Also, if you love your off-campus placement(s), definitely consider a CF there if one becomes available. Always be professional (e-mails, in person meetings, etc.) with everyone you meet...that was emphasized a lot to us. 
Question: What is the best advice you received in grad school about clinicals, CF year, getting through classes, and being successful?
Answer: I received a lot of great advice:
-Be compassionate toward your clients
-Be organized and don't procrastinate
-Always treat others with respect and act professionally
-Don't stress the small stuff
-Be passionate about what you do
-Individualize sessions for your clients; tailor materials to their needs
-Look for resources...there is so much out there!

Question: Do you think it's necessary to study a lot and review past notes prior to starting grad school?
Answer: From my experience, no. I guess this depends on whether you have some basic knowledge of speech pathology, completed pre-reqs, etc. My undergraduate majors were linguistics and psychology. I completed four prerequisite courses before starting grad school. However, I don't want to discourage people from looking over past notes if they feel they need to.
Question: What was the biggest adjustment going from undergrad to grad?
-Paperwork! Clinical writing is very different from English essays.
-More pressure to perform and do well
-"Hands on" work vs. theory learning
-Overall higher expectations
Question: At your school, were supervisors helpful in aiding you in figuring out lesson plan ideas for clients?
Answer: Yes. They provided both general directions for how to conduct treatment sessions as well as specific ideas for games/activities.
Question: This might be silly but..Did you ever have any free time in grad school or were you basically always studying or preparing?
Answer: Depended on the semester! If I only had classes (no practicum), I had free time. During the practicums, free time was generally more limited.
Question: What was the most stressful part of beginning grad school?
-Not knowing what to expect
-Being nervous that it would be overwhelming

Question: What materials do you recommend purchasing or having with you for your first week of grad school classes?
Answer: Similar materials as undergrad classes:
-Laptop (not absolutely necessary, but a big help...does not need to be new and fancy)
-Medium-large size bag or backpack

Question: What helped you study to retain information the best? Did you ever feel like you didn't remember it all? And was it all worth it?

Answer: I studied by rewriting a lot of my notes/information from PowerPoint slides provided in class. That is what helped me retain information best. I would also take notes on material from textbooks. Try to keep your notes/handouts from class really organized (make binders for each subject) so that you can quickly refer back to them. You do not need to remember every single detail, just make it easy for yourself to find information you need quickly. I definitely feel grad school was worth it!

Question: Do CFYs normally begin right after graduation?

Answer: I am beginning my CFY a few weeks after I graduate. I don't know if that is the case for all new graduates though.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

App Review: Fun with Verbs

I have an iPad and I like a lot of apps. But I absolutely LOVE the Hamaguchi apps I have used. These high quality apps are created by a speech-language pathologist who understands how to design apps that effectively target therapy goals. I own several apps by this company and they are all excellent.

Today, I am reviewing the app, Fun with Verbs and Sentences. If you are working on syntax in your sessions, this app is AMAZING. It helps with: 

-Increasing MLU

-Usage of correct grammatical structures

-Expanding vocabulary (nouns/verbs)

Here's how it works:

1. The student (or client) chooses a subject for the sentence (a boy, a girl, or a bear).

        Example: The boy  


2. Three verb choices are presented (the student chooses what he or she wants the subject of the sentence to do).

        Example: drive  

3. Three object choices are presented that logically go along with the verb (the student also chooses the object of the sentence).

       Example: car 

4. A video (of the unique scenario that the student just created) is then presented!

       Example: The boy is driving a car. 

5. The student must repeat the full sentence after watching the video (a question prompt is given, "What is the boy doing?"). You have the option of recording the student saying the sentence. Pictures cues are provided at the bottom to help with sentence construction.

  Displaying IMG_0005.jpg 

Data on each part of the sentence (subject, verb, object) can be taken (see left side of the image above). 

The verb and sentence types can be adjusted in the settings. Verbs can be presented in the present (-ing) form, the regular past tense, and/or the irregular past tense. Sentences can be constructed with the Subject+Verb, the Subject+Object+Verb, and/or the Subject+Verb+Prepositional Phrase. The subject of the sentence can be changed as well (pronouns or nouns). Other settings that can be adjusted: cuing (visual support, sentence modeled by narrator), activities, and the Bubble game (used as a reinforcer).  

Why I Love It: Effectively targets syntax goals, great graphics, ability to create unique video clips, clear format and design, cues are provided, variety of settings to manipulate (level of difficulty can be increased).

Improvements: I'm not crazy about the Bubble reward game, but that can be removed in the settings.

Final thoughts: EXCELLENT app, highly recommended  

***The regular price for this app is $15.99. It is on sale until September 15th for $9.99! Grab it while you can for this great price at the App store .

Thursday, August 14, 2014

FAQs (Part 1): I'm Starting Grad School!

I recently asked newly accepted SLP grad students what they want to know most about graduate school. All answers are based on my personal experiences. Below are some of the questions I received and my (hopefully helpful) answers.

Question: What, if anything, would you have done differently in grad school? How would you have prepared yourself better?

What I would have done differently:
1. I would have established excellent study habits from the very beginning. There are some classes that will take up a lot of your time and, for those courses, it's almost impossible to start assignments a day before the due date. Time management and organization are SUPER important in grad school.   
2. During my practicums, I began saving resources in specific folders on my computer. I wish I had started doing this as soon as I began grad school.
3. Not stressed the small stuff. :)
How would I have prepared myself better?
In terms of academics, I think I was prepared because I was a psychology/linguistics double major. I had also taken several pre-reqs. In my experience (this is only me) I don't think it was necessary to review textbooks or study guides before beginning a program if you have some speech-path background. I think I would have mentally prepared myself for the fact that that things would not go perfectly from the beginning and that grad school is a learning experience in which you will make mistakes. In the end, it will be worth it and you will feel so much more confident as a clinician!

Question: Would you recommend purchasing all your textbooks?

Answer: This is a tough question because I knew the population I wanted to work with when I began grad school. As a result, I bought textbooks that I thought I would refer to in the future. I rented textbooks for other courses. Overall, I would recommend buying textbooks and reselling them if you feel that they won't be useful to you later on in your career. My biggest piece of advice related to textbooks is to NOT buy books at the campus bookstore. I have had a lot of success buying/renting from Amazon. There is also a good website called Big Words ( that compares textbook prices on different websites.

Question: How much did you read in graduate school?

Answer: There is a fair amount of reading. It was not overwhelming though. There was a lot of writing!

Question: What was the social atmosphere like outside of the classroom, both for yourself and others?

Answer: This really varies from program to program, I think. I commuted to my program so I am not sure about the social opportunities outside of the classroom. However, in the classroom, everyone tried really hard to collaborate and work together.

Question: How do undergraduate and graduate courses differ?

Answer: Depends on the course. In general, undergraduate classes focus more on theories and basic knowledge (and there's a lot of things we have to know!). Graduate classes are generally more practical, although there is a lot of "textbook" information taught as well. 

Question: Can you give examples of activities/games/etc. you used with particular clients and how they helped with your treatment goals?

There are too many to list! I have found the iPad to be a great tool. Please read my blog post about it ( The website, Teachers Pay Teachers, is also awesome. Some examples of free products: http://discoveringsl...s#.U8bYGUB0EtA.
A few ideas:
For young children:
-Great toy ideas from Playing with Words 365: (scroll to "Tips on Using Specific Toys to Help Expand Your Child’s Speech & Language Skills")
-Super Duper Animal Buddies
For articulation clients, I made bingo boards with words that contained the sound they were working on. A frequently used resource for artic is Webber's Jumbo Articulation Drill Book. A variety of games can be utilized as reinforcers (Don't Spill the Beans, Pop up Pirate) during artic sessions. 
For my school-age clients, I created a lot of my own materials. Using children's literature in therapy is great because it's fun for the kids and you can target a variety of goals (wh-questions, inferencing, etc.). 
Older clients: This really depends on the population you work with. Materials for older clients should be tailored to their interests. There are some adult language apps available. Some possible games for adults: Jeopardy, Trivial Pursuit,  Family Feud.
These are just some general ideas. You should tailor activities to each individual client. Please don't purchase anything I have mentioned until you know you need it!

Question: Did you work at all during your program?

Answer: Many of my classmates worked during the program. However, all their jobs were part-time and had flexible hours. I think it's smart to wait a few weeks into the semester before starting a job. 

Question: As far as the computer you brought to classes, what did you use and what did you see others using? What would you recommend?  
Do a lot of grads get iPads to use for therapy? Did you?
Answer: We were allowed to sign out iPads for therapy sessions at the on-campus clinic. We were not provided with iPads to take home. I LOVE my iPad and think it's amazing. There are so many awesome apps out there to use during therapy sessions. I personally do not like taking notes on the iPad, but if that has worked for you in undergrad, it should be fine in grad school as well. Most people in my program used MacBooks in class. I used an old Windows laptop to take notes and did paperwork on the laptop/a desktop at home.

Question: I've been reading a lot online about what to actually bring to grad school. A lot of folks recommended a laminator, label maker, and tape recorder. Are there any other heavy duty, 'machine-type' things you'd recommend?

Answer: I think a laptop and a printer are important to bring. I only bought a laminator in my last semester of graduate school and use it occasionally. I don't think it's necessary to have, especially before you begin seeing clients. A tape recorder is useful. I never needed to use a label maker in grad school. An iPad is a great tool, but again, not necessary until you see clients.

Thank you to everyone for your questions! PART 2 COMING SOON!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Linky Party! What's in Your Cart?

It's time for a SALE! Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a sale from August 4-5! I have added 20% off my store as well. In total, you can get 28% off my Pronouns Practice Packet. Many other sellers have also marked their products off, so if you're waiting to buy some great products, this is the time to do it! 

*Use the code: BTS14 during checkout*

Jenna from Speech Room News is hosting a fabulous new Linky Party to celebrate the sale!

Below are the products that are in my cart for the TPT sale!

This Life Skills packet from Speech Room News looks great! I have been looking for products that feature functional vocabulary and this one fits the bill.

Addresses critical thinking skills.

Here are my recommendations. I bought these products and love them!
AMAZING product. If your students are working on differentiating who, where, and what questions, this is the material to get!

Great for preschoolers working on categorizing.

Pragmatics fun!

Here is my product targeting pronouns!