Thursday, August 30, 2012

New School Year; New Professional Goals; the ASHA Convention

My first school job
I don't know about all of my SLP colleagues, but my caseload has changed drastically over the years.  My first public school job in 1986 was in a small rural school system in Virginia---Rappahannock County Schools.  I waltzed into both the elementary and high schools thinking I knew everything (I was a bit cocky), and my caseload consisted of mild articulation cases ('r' and 's').  We had a few language impaired children, but autism, AAC, and multi-handicapped children were rarely seen!  I really had no right to be so cocky since what I was doing wasn't exactly cutting edge.   After three years there, I increased the size of my family with twins and then we moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina (an IBM move which was common at the time). 

Fast forward 24 years (time does fly!).  My twins are now adults.  I have worked in a suburban school system for 20 years now, in an affluent community that does have significant pockets of poverty.  The 'norm' for my caseload is a complicated child---often ELL, often multi-handicapped, often an AAC user, often autistic (often a combination of several of these factors).  Every year seems to offer newer challenges, and never ending demands both in time and expertise.  

This is why attending the ASHA convention is so important to me---my job has changed, and I need to stay up to date with the latest in technology, techniques, and best practices when working with different populations and cultures.  Seriously, I can't wait for November to roll around!  I will jam my convention schedule so I can get every scrap of information that will help me work effectively with the children, teachers, and families.  Socializing is good, but that's not why I go.  I go to learn. 

When I make my sessions schedule, I keep some personal goals in mind.  These goals reflect the changing population of children I work with and the sessions I choose to attend will reflect what I feel I need to learn more about.  Here's the start of my list:

  • Learn better techniques to develop the literacy skills of the more multi-handicapped children
  • Keep abreast of techniques to incorporate effective iPad use into therapy and the classroom
  • Develop my own cultural awareness, especially Burmese and Latino cultures
  • The Common Core has come---what do I do?   

   This is just a start.  The point is that the field has changed for me, as it has for you.   (If you are a new graduate, know that your job will change over time.)   Everyone needs to find ways to stay on top of the change.  For me, this year, it's the ASHA convention!   And I will blog about it.


Ruth   ("The Rogue Blogger")


  1. I think I'm going to the "Common Core and Literacy/Language" short course. I'm excited to learn, too!

  2. Love your post as always. Do you have any more tips for first-time convention goers? I'm definitely going to write up some goals based on my caseload after reading this :), but am afraid it will still be information overload.


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