School Matters: 10 Years of ASHA’s Schools Conference? Absolutely. SLP Sheril Silva will be going to her 10th ASHA Schools Conference and can’t wait. Find out why. School Matters
Free
School Matters  |   March 01, 2014
School Matters: 10 Years of ASHA’s Schools Conference? Absolutely.
Author Notes
  • Sheril Silva, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist in the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District in Massachusetts. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 1, Language Learning and Education; and 16, School-Based Issues. ■thepeachteacher@yahoo.com
    Sheril Silva, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist in the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District in Massachusetts. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 1, Language Learning and Education; and 16, School-Based Issues. ■thepeachteacher@yahoo.com×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / ASHA News & Member Stories / School Matters
School Matters   |   March 01, 2014
School Matters: 10 Years of ASHA’s Schools Conference? Absolutely.
The ASHA Leader, March 2014, Vol. 19, 32-33. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.19032014.32
The ASHA Leader, March 2014, Vol. 19, 32-33. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.19032014.32
Pittsburgh in July and I cannot wait! Another ASHA Schools Conference and this one will be the 10th one I have attended. People often ask me why I continue to go or what I get out of the conference; there is no simple answer. Imagine a conference where every session, presenter and poster is relevant to your job as a school-based speech-language pathologist, a manageable size and during the summer so that you do not have to use personal days to attend. What’s more, you can usually get a couple of days in a great location you might not otherwise get to see.
The first ASHA Schools Conference I attended was in Nashville, Tenn.; it was such a contrast to ASHA’s annual convention. The speakers, topics and posters all were geared toward issues in the school setting, issues that I was either dealing with at the moment or were on my horizon. The participants all were in the same boat, making for a comfortable state of camaraderie. Over the years I’ve found ways to harness the best of the conferences and bring it back to my job. Here is what I learned:
Don’t be shy with the speakers
Through the schools conference, I have had the opportunity to attend workshops given by some of the who’s who in our professional world—Laura Justice, Barbara Ehren, Judy Montgomery, Ken Apel, Wayne Secord, Julie Masterson and Barbara Hodson, to name a few (and all of whom could recite the phone book and I would be enthralled). The content of their presentations is current, informative and, most of all, practical and useful. I always walk away with ideas and suggestions that I can implement once the school year begins. The speakers always have been available after the sessions to answer questions and provide additional information as well as share thoughts and suggestions for specific cases. How many people outside of her university students can say, “I consulted with Barbara Hodson about this child?” I can because of the schools conference.
Get out there and meet people
When I leave the conference, of course I am inspired by the presenters, topics and posters, but I am also stimulated by my fellow SLPs. So many of us have limited interaction with others in our field who understand the demands and pressure we feel. The conference gives us the opportunity to engage with our colleagues. Be sure to meet as many people as possible and to stay in touch. They become your network. For the three days, I hear SLPs from one state asking SLPs from another state or a different part of their own state for their thoughts and ideas on a presented topic. There is brainstorming about how to achieve the best outcomes or how to muddle through the Common Core State Standards or, my personal favorite, data collection.
A woman from Louisiana whom I met at last year’s conference in Long Beach, and who recently completed her PhD, shared with me a great suggestion for collecting data on students’ progress. She had overheard me lamenting how I can never consistently collect data while working with preschoolers. She suggested that I collect data for the first minute of the session—prior to initiating an intervention—and then one minute at the end to monitor progress. She had picked up this little tip from Jan Norris and shared it with the group of us who were brainstorming in this session. I used it this past school year with great success.
My new way of collecting data happened all because of this woman I met at the conference. I now have a network of colleagues from Massachusetts to California and New Hampshire to Texas with whom I can bounce ideas. If I hadn’t attended all these conferences, I would have a much smaller, less diverse network and a lot less inspiration to continue to do what I do to the best of my ability.
Have fun with it
Professionally, the schools conference not only meets the requirement for half of the CEUs you need for certification renewal in one event, it also provides an opportunity to network, become inspired and increase one’s bag of tricks with evidence-based research. Personally, the schools conference has given me a location for my wedding (we were married in Las Vegas on a Monday and on Friday the schools conference began), an opportunity to travel across the country (Long Beach, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Indianapolis), some much-needed “me” time and, most important, some lasting friendships. The conference in Nashville gave me one of my nearest and dearest friends, Susan. Out of a cab ride from the airport to the hotel grew a great friendship and a roommate for all of the conferences since. She has been a sounding board both professionally and personally, and for that I am grateful.
So, when you and your family are planning summer vacation, give some serious consideration to Pittsburgh and the ASHA schools conference. I will be there and look forward to meeting you!
0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
March 2014
Volume 19, Issue 3