Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's Not Over till it's Over

So while it appears in previous posts that I graduated that was really all for show! Although, I walked in the May commencement ceremony, I really don't "technically" graduate until August! I was two classes short of being officially done in May but I really wanted to graduate with the girls I started the program with. Since they give you a fake diploma at the ceremony they don't really care when you walk!  I'm glad that I participated in that ceremony because it was an amazing day to share with the girls that literally helped me survive the program! But it was also bittersweet because just three weeks later I was back in class and participating in two internships!

I just finished up the first summer session and now that it's over it was a great expeirence! The class was about using augmentative and alternative communication for individuals who have difficulty expressing themselves with speech. I should have known that I would love it as nothing interests me more than technology and helping people communicate! Very cool! I also had an opportunity to do a hospital rotation in an acute care setting. This is very different then what I do as a school based speech therapist, so it was both overwhelming and fascinating. SLP's that work in acute care, are typically responsible for evaluating individuals who have undergone a traumatic event (such as a stroke or surgery) that has impacted their ability to swallow. The SLP is given orders by the doctor to do a bedside swallow evaluation, a modified barium swallow study and treat patients who have dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Who knew that it was a Speech Language Pathologist that decided who is safe or not safe to eat and drink! Pretty cool! We also evaluated individuals for cognitive impairments as well as speech and language impairments. There is not a lot of treatment for speech/language in the acute settings as this is typically done on the inpatient rehabilitation floor (which I also had an opportunity to observe). While I find the hospital setting both intimidating and depressing, I will admit that this opportunity did peak my interest! Prior to this internship I would have never considered working in this environment but now I will say it is an option! My other internship was at an ENT working with one of my clinical supervisors who is a voice specialist. This rotation involved doing endoscopic evaluations of individuals vocal folds. Very cool! A scope is inserted up the nose or in the mouth to view the vocal folds for abnormalities. I have included my exam because I know how supervised I was to see what they look like! (Ignore my distorted voice, it was very hard to vocalize with a scope in mouth)! Much to my relief (after some of the folds I saw) were normal and healthy!  Again, this was not an area of interest prior to the internship but now is definitely something I want to learn more about.

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I just started my LAST class, Communication Disorders in Autism! Ironically, it's the class that I was the most excited to take so it's a good way to finish.  In just a few short weeks it will really all be over...to be honest I don't know what I'm going to do with myself!  Photobucket

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