Dysarthria meets YouTube

I work in a pediatric inpatient rehab setting so making therapy fun is a tricky game sometimes. Especially when teenagers and head injuries coexist. Word lists and drill only got me so far before patient and clinician motivation tanked. Enter YouTube!!! you sure saved the day! YouTube on the iPad…even better!

I’ve noticed that a lot of patients enjoy music so why not use that in Dysarthria sessions for intelligibility drills. YouTube is a treasure chest of music videos but the best part is, there are TONS of videos that have song lyrics built in. I’ve been using this in therapy a lot lately and it saves me having to print sheets of paper with lyrics. It’s also great for those moments when patients decide to change their ‘favorite’ song on the fly throwing all planning out the window. Chances are you can find the new favorite just as easily on YouTube without wasting precious therapy time. It’s also a great way to pause midsong and work on compensatory strategies like pacing, overarticulation, breath support etc without making it seem so regimented. Incorporate tapping naturally as well. I co-treated with an OT one session and she included ‘music and movement’ stuff for upper extremities. The patient was getting ready to go to church on a therapuetic outing so we worked on gestures her church used during worship.

If your patient/client has a touch device of some sort (i-device or not) that can connect to the internet it’s an easy way to send HW without worrying about printed sheets that they have to keep and bring back. One of my patients wanted to record herself singing on her device and used that as a benchmark for progress. Sky’s the limit.

Here are some songs I’ve used recently and thought I’d share. These have a devotional flavor since that’s what this particular patient and several others picked but you can find lotsa other mainstream options as well.

What Love Really Means – J.J Heller

Your Hands – J.J Heller

Changed – Rascal Flatts

Oh Happy Days from Sister Act

until the next post…sing away…

Praxis Schmaxis

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the SLP Praxis exam, especially in the #slp2b community. Having just taken it not so long ago I figured why not share some words of wisdom. Not that I’m a veteran Praxis taker or anything:) but…

a) I come from a grad program that prides itself on commaraderie and collaboration vs competition

b) This is my 2nd masters degree and I’ve gained some grey hair along the way so why not share…

The words below are things I’ve usually shared with cohorts that took the exam after me. Stuff that was passed down to me and stuff I gained along the way.

10) The practice tests are really helpful in assessing what areas you might need to revisit and how long it might take you to test (120 qstns in 120mins). I’m a slow multiple choice tester so that’s what I used the tests for. Almost everyone in my program used the Advanced Review book. My recommendation would be to save money and share the thumb drive it comes with amongst your peers. Some programs use the book for an undergrad capstone or an intro class so you might wanna ask your faculty if they have a copy you can borrow. That’s what I did and it save me some moolah 
9) Your WORST case scenario is paying another test fee and retaking it. At least at Baylor it didn’t affect graduation, externship, CFY etc – make sure you know what your program requires though. We just had to take it before we graduated so not passing on the first try didn’t really have ramifications other than maybe an ego burst and more money outa your pocket. (but we all passed…and you will too:D)
8) The answers are ON the page. Remember that you are great students and clinicians and if nothing else, I’m sure you can rationalize your way through an answer and eliminate choices as you go along.
7) One thing that I always like to share and others before me shared with us is…more often than not you won’t feel very confident coming out of Praxis. Most of us felt super confident after comps and the practice Praxis test but uneasy and unsure after the real deal. BUT we all passed!!!! I think it’s just the nature of the test and the speed at which you have to work. So if you don’t  feel very good about the test when you leave, know that it’s normal. You need a 70% (If I remember correctly) to pass. Think about how you’d feel if you got a score like that on a test. Yup..you’ll feel the same way..but all you need to do is pass! so feelings schmeelings!
6) Most SLP2Bs and SLPs are type A overachievers who won’t settle for anything below an A. But who cares about your Praxis score??? NOONE other than you. All that you’re usually asked is if you passed.
5) Like I said earlier, multiple choice tests always take me longer and I didn’t have time to go over my whole test again. I knew that going in so my strategy was to go through everything answer it regardless of how confident I felt and then go back to a few that I had circled. That’s exactly how it panned out on test day and I’m glad I prepped myself so I didn’t freak out when I couldnt go over the whole test again. It is better to guess than leave an answer blank so just guess and move to the next if you need to.
4) ETS also throws out some questions and some are there only for data gathering purposes vs for a score so if you see some bizarre off the wall questions, they may be ones that dont count towards your score.
3) My recommendation once you’re done with the test would be: DO NOT discuss questions and who answered what for a question:) it was the most frustrating thing for me cuz it made me more and more unsure of my answers.
2) Make sure you have a solid support system. And I’d go a step further and recommend they be speechies. family and other friends even in grad programs just won’t get it the way we do so….HOLLA WHEN YOU NEED TO AND EVEN IF YOU DONT :D I’ll more than gladly that person for anyone that needs it:)
1) SOOOOO bottom  line…breathe:) try and do something not study related the night before, get a good night’s rest, eat a good breakfast and you’ll be fine. Celebrate the end of another milestone and worry about the results when they come.
Hope this helps! GOOD LUCK and remember…The answers are right there in front of you:) As one of my favorite professors always said..”It’s a test of recognition vs recall”. So don’t stress. You’ll do just fine!
ps:send me a note if you want some test resources. I’m happy to share via email.

And…the journey begins

Hello once again Blogosphere! only this time I finally made the plunge into the world of speech path blogs. It only took a year, coaxing from some grad school friends and LOTSA inspiration from some of my favorite #slpeeps…..but it’s finally here and hopefully will give you a glimpse into my world as a Speech Language Pathologist. And maybe someday inspire someone else to take that same plunge!