ASHA 12, for better or worse, has come to an end. In terms of sleep deprivation, it’s certainly for the better. I could have probably gotten somewhere around 6 or 7 hours a night of sleep, but there were so many thoughts catapulting around in my head that was just not happening. Or maybe that was actually the 2-3 Starbucks drinks during the day. Regardless, sleeping in my own bed is going to be heavenly tonight. Which is good since it’s back to reality bright and early tomorrow with a 7:45 AM IEP meeting.
One of the things that made me the most sad about ASHA 12 ending is that when I go back to my school tomorrow, I’ll once again be the only #slpeep there. Sure I have them on Twitter (which I don’t usually have time to check during the day), but there’s something so inspiring about being with and talking to people who care about the same ideas and disorders and people and thoughts that you do. It’s life breathing when that’s your passion. So it’s a bit of a letdown to leave that.
It was the very last session on Saturday, the time in the conference when you start choosing sessions based on how close they are to where you already are. But it was so worth it. I’ve decided there are 3, maybe 4 things I loved about Kummer and her presentation on velopharyngeal insufficiency and resonance disorders.
1) She’s wicked smart and at the same time cares. She could whip out anatomy and craniofacial anomaly names like nobody’s business, but also took personal “I have this kid who” type questions before the presentation even started. And even though there were only a handful of people listening and she wasn’t gaining any notoriety for it, she was thorough and asking people to email her and offering resources all over the place. That is amazing.
2) She’s practical. She actually brought straws for the whole room so we could experience listening/feeling for nasal air emission with them. She totally gets that SLPs often buy their own supplies, and gave us a bunch of ideas of how to do assessment with cheap or free things you already have like straws and a scrap of paper.
3) She’s sassy. She was enough sarcastic and funny that it was thoroughly engaging, but not over the line unprofessional so that it turns people off.
4) She’s a great teacher. This is kind of covered by my other bullet points, but she was just great at explaining things. She told us at least 3 or 4 things that, despite having taken a craniofacial anomalies class, I didn’t know. Like that you shouldn’t refer a kiddo with VPI or resonance problems to an ENT–that ENTs don’t know anything about it. I had no idea. She could also imitate resonance issues like nobody’s business–hyponasality, hypernasality, cul-de-sac resonance…seriously impressive.
Apart from Kummer’s session, I also really enjoyed the closing party. I was spent, and not really excited about going, but it turned out to be a great event. First, it was in an awesome setting–the Georgia Aquarium. We actually ate sitting inches from a tank full of fish. They also had enough food for everyone this year, and I got to go with friends. It was awesome.
My brain is still processing all of the ideas and thoughts I’m coming home with. There are definitely things I want to try–the Story Grammar Marker, Get Ready Do Done mats from Sarah Ward, Social Thinking, some of Kummer’s techniques, but I know it’s going to take a while to try it all out and integrate everything I’ve learned. And probably about the time I get done with that, it’ll be time for ASHA13.
If you went, what were your aha moments? Your favorite events? I’d love to hear about them. We learn so much from each other!