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Monday, July 25, 2011

1 Year Anniversary

Wow! It amazes me that a year has elapsed since I began this blog. I never dreamed it would be so well received, and that so many of you would enjoy reading it and encourage us to share more with you. Thank you dear readers! Our hope (and goal) always has been and always will be to make your work life just a little bit easier by sharing a tip, a trick, or a new idea to an old problem.

I veered off my yearly outline a time or two so that means there are a few more blogs to come before I embark on developing a new outline for this year. For now, I want to spend a couple of weeks with a review of the various series from last year that will help you get this year off on the right foot. I'm going to talk about each series as a whole, that way if there is a topic you are interested in you'll have it all in one cohesive place.

Our first series was Back to School Screenings and Evaluations In this series we discussed:
1. The oral mechanism and why to take the time to do a thorough exam the first time around
2. Tips for checking for nasality
3. 3 clinical signs of a submucous clefts
4. A refresher on S/Z ratios
5. General guidelines for sound mastery
6. Scheduling software by Caselite

Our second series was Organization It was a six part series focusing on how to organize yourself and your therapy room. This was basically for that first year therapist who is overwhelmed with all that is ahead of him/her.
1. Using milk crates for storage
2. How we organize and use "working folders"
3. Homework slips
4. Using craft baskets in your therapy room
5. Using a clip board
6. Utility Bins

I feel this succinctly summarizes those first two series and will help you organize your therapy space and refresh your memory before you begin your school year this year.

As always we hope you have fun with your kids and enjoy your days with them.

(And yes, we hope you'll visit our website to look at the products we have developed that will make your therapy day easier and more fun for your kids)

Leah and Dean

Monday, July 11, 2011

Guest Blog- 6 Using Social Networks to Increase Professional Learning Opportunities

Today marks the final entry from our lexical linguist, Tanya Coyle. We sincerely appreciate her generosity in allowing us to repost all her blog entries regarding social media. Leah and i hope you will continue to read Tanya's blog at

This blog post is meant to list the resources we are citing at our CASLPA2011 presentation in order for people to reflect on them later (and ask questions in the comments). It is also so that people who couldd not be inn Montreal today, can participate – of sorts- and in some ways ‘watch’ the presentation live or after the fact.

Here is the prezi we are using during the presentation – it outlines the majority of the information and contains video clips. We STRONGLY SUGGEST you view it in full screen for the best effect – especially during video clips embedded in the presentation.

Here is the handout for our presentation with links to various sites we discussed during the presentation. I am unsure how long they will remain on the CASLPA website so here is the list of resources and links we provided in the handout.

Blogs for SLPs

Sean Sweeney has made a blog bundle with 25+ blogs by people who are S-LPs. You can see it here.

CASLPA members

Cree-zy, Crazy Speechie:
Lexical Linguist: @SLPTanya
TiPS: Technology in Practice for @SLPrj


Dysphagia Ramblings: @apujo5

Tech Use in Therapy and Assessment

Therapyapp411: various contirbutors
Speech Gadget: @SpeechGadgetDeb
Speech Language Pathology Sharing: @esailers
Speech Techie: @speechtechie
GeekSLP: @GeekSLP

General Therapy Tips/Ideas/Thoughts

2 Gals Talk…About Speech @2gals
Artic Brain Blog: @ArticBrain
Easy Speech and Language Ideas:
Pathologically Speaking:
Speech Therapy Ideas:
The Speech Pathway:

Professional Organizations

Express Yourself Speech and Pearson Ed’s blog, @SpeechnLanguage
ASHAsphere: @ASHAweb
Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists and

Blogs for Audiologists

Cochlear Implant Online:
Tucson Audiologists/TIA
Deaf Village:



Stuttering is cool:
ASHA podcast: (rarely updated)


Audiology Talk:
Hearing Review:
MUSC Health:

Sources for webinars


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guest Blog Series -5 Social Media

I intentionally put the cart before the horse when I started posting this series on social media because I wanted you to be sure to get to know all about Twitter and how to use it. However, Twitter is only one of the many faces of social media and today’s post by Tanya Coyle explains the various kinds that are available to us. This was Tanya’s initial post in her series which introduces social media as a whole. Again we sincerely thank our “Lexical Linguist” for allowing us to repost her wonderful blog post.


Many people have spoken in their blogs about why they love using Twitter and various other social media to share information professionally. Others have posted in their blogs about the specifics of how to use Twitter and so on. However, none of them have posted this information with respect to speech-language pathology. This post will begin a series on using social media to create a professional (personal) learning network (PLN). I wanted to start by introducing the various kinds of social media that I use to network with other SLPs and related professions as well as the context in which I use them. I will follow up with how-tos for the various resources and hopefully use a speech and language lens.


I’m starting with Twitter, since this is where I ended up starting with social media (not including Facebook, which I only use for personal and barely at that). Twitter is a good example of Web 2.0, which is how the internet has evolved to be more interactive for users. I was first introduced to Twitter as a source of professional information last winter. I was skeptical at first, but then saw how teachers are using Twitter to interact with each other (and sometimes students) professionally. I began to see how Twitter could be used for learning purposes, rather than for inane information sharing about oneself. This intrigued me, but there weren’t very many speech pathologists to interact with online at the time and learning the Twitter system took some practice and figuring out. Once I found some SLPs worth ‘following’ and got the hang of Twitter, I was hooked on learning and sharing.

I use Twitter to find out about and share useful links, materials, and ideas with other professionals, as well as to ask questions in my day to day practice. For example, if a student provides a response on standardized assessment and I’m not sure if I should mark it correct or not, I might throw it out to the Twitter community to see what others would do and why. Or if I am looking for new materials or ideas to tackle a certain problem I will ask my colleagues on Twitter, who are usually more immediately accessible to me than my colleagues in real life.

One surprising relationship I developed was with my professional association, CASLPA ( @CASLPA). My relationship with CASLPA is a big deal, since I didn’t give them much thought before getting to know them better by following them and chatting online. ASHA (@ASHAWeb) and RCSLT (@RCSLT) are also on Twitter. I’ve developed relationships with some of the businesses involved with speech pathologists too, like Pearson Assessment (@SpeechnLanguage). I’ve found the immediate accessibility to companies like Pearson very helpful in asking them questions or presenting concerns I may have with materials they sell. Pearson was even able to quickly sort out an order problem that I had few months ago!

I’ve also struck up collegial friendships with people I’ve met on Twitter, which has enabled us to work together to develop and share resources, create a discussion group, and even design an app. We frequently help problem solve each others’ difficulties in therapy and assessment and provide advice for various situations.


The only problem I developed with Twitter was getting so many resources from the professionals I followed that I couldn’t keep up with the information flow. I was being directed to too many webpages every day to remember and find them again. Then I learned about, a social bookmarking site that allows me to bookmark webpages from any computer and access them on any computer. I’m also able to ‘tag’ bookmarks with keywords and even create lists for others to see and use the bookmarks I’ve saved. As an added bonus, this allowed me to provide ONE website address for teachers or parents to find all the links I might recommend to them. These links may have games or information to help with home/classroom practice and carryover.

Google Doc

I use Google Docs to share resources (usually my own; always stay within copyright laws) and even to create meeting agendas at my place of work. Instead of everyone emailing one person who has to maintain a meeting agenda, people can add their own agenda items and check the agenda in their own time. I also used Google Docs to put together a proposal with a Twitter colleague of mine, Janelle Albrecht (@albrechtjn), with whom I’m presenting at a conference in April but whom I’ve never met in person (yet).

Several of us on Twitter began a Shared Resource Folder in Google Docs so that all SLPs on Twitter could share various resources with permission from the authors, if they are not themselves the author of the material. There are many great resources within it, some of it used with permission from important researchers in the field. In it there is also a Goal Bank (therapy goals that various people have contributed) and a Twitter Book of SLPs to find the SLPs who are using Twitter actively. You require permission to have access to this folder and the documents within it from one of 4-5 SLPs on Twitter such as @albrechtjn, @mtMarySLP, @speechreka, and me (@SLPTanya).


Recently, a new way for SLPs to interact on Twitter was introduced. SLPChat is an international discussion group that occurs roughly every six weeks. Regular ‘chats’ on Twitter is nothing new, but this is the first one directed specifically at SLPs. So far we have discussed using Cycles for phonology as well as intervention and assessment for Dysphagia/Feeding. You can find out more about SLPChat dates, topics and use on the SLPChat blog and you can follow them on Twitter.


This is a social networking site meant for professionals, but tends to be more formal and static than Twitter. It is set up in a bulletin board style of interaction. There is a lot of great information and interesting discussions for speech pathology happening there, however. I am currently signed up, and I get emails, but I don’t keep up with LinkedIn. That’s why I’ve invited a guest blogger to do an entry on how to use LinkedIn so stay tuned.


I’m guessing you already know about blogs, since you’re reading one presently. There are many SLP blogs – more than I can keep up with reading! I have a few on my blogroll to your right, but there are more listed in the Shared Docs folder under a file called “Shared Links”. Or, better yet, you could check out Sean Sweeney’s (@speechtechie) SLP Blog Bundle through Google Reader, a great way to keep up with multiple blogs.


I forgot to include Facebook when I first published this post. Oops. I think I forgot because it is so prolific in our culture, however I’d be remiss not to mention that you can use Facebook to access professional information. Many professional associations, groups and individuals have a Facebook page that you can ‘like’, which more or less subscribes you to the information they post in a similar way to Twitter. In fact, you can link your Twitter and Facebook accounts in order to post to both simultaneously. UPDATE: There is a new group on Facebook called SLPeeps. I don’t personally use Facebook very much, but many people do and love it. I’m not against Facebook, I’m just busy enough with the many other social media I’ve already listed. This is the same and only reason I don’t actively participate in LinkedIn at this time. The beauty of social media is that there’s bound to be something that will be a good fit for just about anyone.

In my next posts I will explain how to use Twitter; the lingo, functions, and social use ‘rules’. I will later explain how to use Google Docs if there is a demand for it and things like Diigo and Google Reader. Finally, I will have a guest blogger explain how to use LinkedIn and possibly Facebook.

Happy networking!