Speech-Language & Audiology Canada's Student Speak
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In This Issue
A Message From Joanne Charlebois, CEO

Careers in Communication Health: Where Will Your Degree Take You? (Part Two)

Apply to be the 2015-2016 SAC Director-Student!

University of Alberta Student Update

Dalhousie University Student Update

University of Toronto Student Update

University of British Columbia Student Update

University of Quebec à Trois-Rivières Student Update
Important Dates

December 31, 2014: Deadline to renew with SAC for 2015 (new grads only)
January 14, 2015Deadline to apply to be the next SAC Director-Student
January 31, 2015Deadline for applications, changes or cancellations for spring clinical certification exam
February 4, 2015: 
Professional development webinar on childhood apraxia of speech, by Deb Goshulak
February 11, 2015Professional development lunch and learn on starting a private practice, by Tracie Lindblad
March 28, 2015Spring clinical certification exam
June 30, 2015: Deadline for applications for the fall
clinical certification exam
July 31, 2015: Deadline for changes or cancellations for fall clinical certification exam
September 12, 2015Fall clinical certification exam
A Message From Joanne Charlebois, CEO
Welcome to the winter 2014 issue of Student Speak! I hope you enjoy reading part two of our Careers in Communication Health series and hearing about what students at the U of A, Dalhousie, U of T, UBC and UQTR have been up to lately. 

I also wanted to let you know that we have created a short video to help you spread the word about the benefits of being a student associate. I hope you will share it with your peers through email and social media to encourage other students to join SAC. It's often said that there is strength in numbers and it couldn't be more true for an association like ours — the more communication health professionals we represent, the more effectively we can raise awareness about, and advocate for, the professions.

Click on the preview to watch the video on YouTube:


I encourage you to become even more involved with SAC by applying for the position of Director-Student. It's an excellent opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience (which looks great to potential employers) and is a chance for you to be a voice for students like you from across the country. 

Finally, I want to thank you for being part of SAC through such a momentous year in our association's history. You may have noticed that we've posted a historical fact about SAC every week this year to commemorate our 50th anniversary. Given that this week marks the 50th week of our 50th year, I'd like to share our last birthday fact with you:
At the founding meeting of Speech-Language and Audiology Canada, one individual asked: “Why do we need a Canadian association?”

For 50 years, SAC has championed the professions and helped raise the profile of speech-language pathologists, audiologists and communication health assistants from coast to coast. SAC has supported our members and associates through publications, professional development and clinical certification programs, resources, position papers, guidelines and more. SAC advocates on behalf of the professions in the media and on Parliament Hill, and helps raise awareness about communication disorders among politicians, educators, parents, families and other health-care workers.

So to respond to a 50-year-old question, why do we need this association? The answer is simple: because everyone in Canada deserves the opportunity to communicate.  

From all of us here at SAC, here’s to 50 years … and counting!
I wish you all the best for the upcoming holiday season and a very happy new year.

Joanne Charlebois
Chief Executive Officer
Careers in Communication Health:
Where Will Your Degree Take You? (Part Two)
Communication health professionals who work in educational settings assist children with their communication needs in the classroom, often seeing dozens of students each day.
You've already made the decision to become a communication health professional, but do you know where you want to work after graduation? This article is Part Two of our "Careers in Communication Health" series, designed to give you a glimpse into real-life careers in speech-language pathology and audiology across different settings. Part One, featured in our last issue of Student Speak, looked at what it's like to work in a medical setting as a hospital-based clinician. Part Two, below, focuses on communication health professionals who work in educational settings. 
The familiar ring of a school bell signals the start of yet another busy day not only for students and teachers, but also for the many speech-language pathologists, audiologists and communication health assistants who work in education. These professionals strive to ensure that all children have access to the services and education they need to succeed later on in life. 
For some, like Sharon Storr, a speech-language pathologist (S-LP) who works for a school board in Ontario, the decision to work in a school setting was a no-brainer. “I always knew I would be working with children,” says Storr, who has spent the past 5 years working on the school board’s autism support team. She knows that this line of work was a good choice: “I really like working with my students and find I am continuously learning. I enjoy this aspect of my job tremendously.”
However, many school-based communication health professionals never planned to pursue an education-based practice. Sandra Vandenhoff, an audiologist working for the Calgary Board of Education, started her career by dispensing hearing aids for the provincial government in P.E.I. and then worked in private practice in B.C. She went on to work for Phonak, a hearing aid and FM system manufacturer, before applying to work for the school board in Calgary. “When the position became available, I jumped at the chance. It was a bit of a risk because it was only a temporary, part-time position, but I wanted it so badly that I threw caution to the wind. Thankfully, the temporary position became permanent and the part-time hours evolved into full-time.” Vandenhoff is pleased to say that she loves what she does: “I am so happy I fell into educational audiology. This is by far the best job I’ve ever had.”
Rachel Chiasson had an experience that falls somewhere in the middle. Though Chiasson has always worked as a school-based S-LP, she didn’t enjoy her first job with a school board. “I was very unhappy … I had four schools that were two hours apart each and the roads I had to drive on were treacherous. I also had a high caseload and found that I couldn’t make the impact I wanted to with my students,” she explains. “By the time I saw the students, they were past the critical development years and it was very difficult to make an impact on their foundational knowledge in conjunction with the demands the school put on them.”
Now working for two First Nations schools in Cape Breton, N.S., Chiasson couldn’t be happier. “Both schools have been very supportive of my strengths and have allowed me to deliver services that work best for all students involved. It has taken about a decade, but I finally feel like I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.” In speaking with Storr, Vandenhoff and Chiasson, it’s clear that there is no set career path to becoming a school-based communication health professional. And, importantly, it’s never too late to make a change — even if you don’t know which area is right for you, you have time to explore your options.
If you're wondering whether you should consider a career in education, working in the school system seems to be ideal for those who like variety but perform well within structured environments. Most workdays run from 8:00 or 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. and often require communication health professionals to visit more than one school. Vandenhoff and Storr spend a significant part of each day driving from one location to another, prioritizing situations as they arise and working with anywhere from one or two children to upwards of 50 kids at a single school. “My day is equally divided between addressing emergencies (equipment breakdowns), and preventative monitoring and checking equipment. I also try to build capacity in children and in teachers so that they can troubleshoot equipment problems for themselves,” Vandenhoff explains.
However, not all school-based communication health professionals have this much variation in their day. Chiasson spends her mornings working with children with autism and her afternoons conducting group therapy. Her workload of approximately 70 students, in total, is light compared to that of some school-based S-LPs. There's no doubt that working in a school can be busy; after all, every job has its challenges. But there are also incredible rewards.
After noting that she enjoys “being able to think of solutions to a problem in new and creative ways”, Storr said that the best part of her job is seeing her kids smile. Similarly, Chiasson’s favourite moments are when she sees a child make progress beyond everyone's expectations and take pride in how far they’ve come. And you don’t always have to wait long to see the effects of your work: Vandenhoff said that she sees her students express relief and gratitude on a daily basis when she’s able to help them use technology to achieve their full potential.
Vandenhoff went on to admit that she was surprised by how much she enjoys her job. “I had no idea how much fun I would have at work! Especially in elementary schools, kids get excited about almost anything. They’re excited to arrive at school, excited when recess starts, excited when recess is over ... they have a zest for life that is infectious.”
If you want to work as a school-based communication health professional, Storr and Vandenhoff recommend getting as much relevant experience as you can before beginning your career in the school system. Storr suggests becoming well-versed in both low- and high-tech forms of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) devices if you plan to work with autism spectrum disorders, for example, and Vandenhoff says that her prior knowledge of hearing aids, cochlear implants and FM systems has been incredibly beneficial to her in her current position. You will also want to make sure that you have strong communication skills, know how to be a team player, adapt well to changes and show empathy for your students and coworkers. According to Storr, a sense of humour is essential too.
Of course, the most important thing is for you to be passionate about what you do, to the point that you aren’t afraid to go after what you want. When asked what final piece of advice she would pass on to students who are considering working in education, Chiasson offered these words of wisdom: “Employers [may] try to pressure you to work longer hours than is healthy, drive in conditions that are not safe or take on unreasonable caseloads. Stand your ground. You are at work most of your waking hours, so you need to be comfortable with what you are doing and you need to enjoy your job. Life is too short to compromise.”
Stay tuned for Part Three in our "Careers in Communication Health" series, which will focus on communication health professionals working in private practice. Special thanks go to the following individuals for their assistance with Part Two:

Rachel Chiasson, B.Sc., M.Sc.
Speech-language pathologist and autism specialist, 
We'koqma'q & Wagmatcook First Nations School (Cape Breton, N.S.)

Sharon Storr, OCT, M.Sc., Reg. CASLPO, 
Speech-language pathologist, Autism Programs and Services, Toronto Catholic District School Board (Toronto, O.N.)

Sandra Vandenhoff, Au.D., R. Aud
Audiologist, Calgary Board of Education (Calgary, A.B.)

Apply to be the 2015-2016 SAC
We are currently accepting applications from student associates who want to be the next Director-Student on SAC’s Board. This exciting opportunity is a chance for you to shape the future of your national professional association — and gain valuable experience in the process!
The successful candidate will serve on the SAC Board of Directors from the spring of 2015 to the spring of 2016. For more information about the position, read the call for applications.
Why Apply?
Representing your peers on the SAC Board is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Here’s what you’ll gain:
  • valuable experience in governance, leadership, strategic-planning and
  • networking opportunities with the movers and shakers in the professions; and
  • national recognition by peers, colleagues and future employers.
As one of SAC’s 2015-2016 Directors, you’ll also be able to attend complimentary continuing education sessions while at the 2016 conference in Halifax, N.S.
If you want to know more about the benefits of being a Director, check out this video that former Director Melanie Tapson made last year (the position was called the "National Student Advisor" or NSA back then).

You can also contact your current representative on the Board, Nina Aghdasi, at studentdirector@sac-oac.ca if you have any questions about what the position entails.
Who Can Apply?
To be eligible for this position, you must:
  • be an SAC student associate as of January 12, 2015;
  • be enrolled in a recognized Canadian university program offering a graduate degree in either audiology or speech-language pathology; and
  • have completed the first year of your program by spring 2015 (exception for students at Dalhousie University: you must have completed your first or second year by spring 2015).
For full eligibility requirements, please see the call for applications.

How to Apply
Please prepare and submit the following documents to SAC (volunteer@sac-oac.ca) by Wednesday, January 14, 2015:
  1. Application form
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Statement of interest
 For details about the application process, download the call for applications.
In accordance with our new bylaw, our Board of Directors will consider the applications we receive and select a slate of candidates. SAC will then present three student associate candidates to our members, who will vote on our new Director via an online election in early March.
Good luck to everyone who applies!
University of Alberta Student Update
A few first-year S-LP students getting ready for their final cadaver lab 

Within the University of Alberta's department of communication sciences and disorders (formerly known as the department of speech-language pathology and audiology), first-year students have just been assigned their program research projects and theses and second-year students are making the transition to their practicum placements.

Some student research projects are a continuation of work we began last year, such as the Alberta Aphasia Camp; Edmonton Public Library and Adults with Neurological Communication Disorders; and Language, Academic and Social Skills in Children Adopted From China and Their Non-adopted Peers.

Other students are beginning exciting new projects such as Must Love Dogs: Exploration of Animal Therapy; Effects of External Vibratory Technique on Voice and Resonance; and Improving Respiratory Crisis Management in Patients with Neuromuscular Disorders. We are all eager to get started in anticipation of making new discoveries, contributing to the literature and being part of future research within the professions! 

Amanda Lise, S-LP Student Representative

Brenna Cowden, S-LP Student Representative
Dalhousie University Student Update
Hello from Halifax, Nova Scotia!

Students and faculty at Dalhousie's school of human communication disorders have been busy at work and play. Here’s what’s new with us:

The Dalhousie Faculty of Health Professions has been working to create a new doctoral program that uses the WHO Definition of Health and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a framework. We’re proud to announce that the PhD program has received formal approval and the first student has already been accepted! This interdisciplinary program is accepting applicants from a wide variety of health professions.

We recently launched the Dalhousie Accent Modification Clinic — the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada — to help speakers from other regions recognize and produce the speech sounds of North American English. This clinic uses personalized programming to provide instruction on speech rhythm and pronunciation specific to an individual’s needs, goals and concerns.

This past October, our third-year audiology students attended the Canadian Academy of Audiology conference in Whistler, B.C. It was a very cool trip! Now, many of us (including our very own award-winning volunteer Mark Monk) are hard at work putting on this year’s production of “For The Health Of It”, a fun evening of comedic skits in support of a local charity. This year we're raising funds for the Regional Residential Services Society, a non-profit organization that helps adults with intellectual disabilities achieve their goals.

Until next time,

Janine Fitzpatrick, S-LP Student Representative

Anton Charko, Audiology Student Representative
University of Toronto Student Update
This semester, students in the University of Toronto's speech-language pathology program participated in integrated learning experiences (ILEs), which are events organized by the faculty to give the students the chance to address clinical cases. The purpose of ILEs is to reinforce the information we learn in all of our courses.

The first-year class is currently studying developmental disorders. They spent several days working on the case of a child born with 22q11-deletion syndrome. The case was structured so that students received reports at intervals that mimicked the “growing up” process for the child, pushing the class to draw on knowledge from all of their coursework as the client’s needs changed. 

The second-year class, meanwhile, is studying neurogenic and structural disorders. They had a one-day experience with assessment and counseling for a patient with a recent brain injury. Students conducted the assessment in teams, forming small groups to discuss different disorder areas and then joining larger groups to discuss and prioritize goals. In the afternoon, we worked with a standardized patient program to practice counseling with actors who were well-versed in the case. 

As students, we find these events provide valuable opportunities for us to apply what we're learning in a simulated environment. It's a great way to test our skills before we begin our placements in the "real world". 

Of course, we also like to have fun now and then. The first-year students created this YouTube video, called Life's Speechie, to show everyone how much we enjoy our S-LP program. 

Sarah Norris Andrews, S-LP Student Representative

Alexandra Macovik, S-LP Student Representative
University of British Columbia 
Student Update
UBC students at Walk2Hear
The school of audiology and speech sciences (SASS) at the University of British Columbia is home to two fantastic community-driven programs that operate throughout the year. Students are involved in the Aphasia Mentoring Program, which helps us gain a deeper understanding of what it means to live with aphasia and learn about clinical practice from the perspectives of individuals living with the condition, and the Advancing Language Literacy Group, where we work with young adults with various developmental disabilities. Being involved in these groups allows students to increase their breadth of experience and depth of knowledge by interacting and building relationships with individuals who have communication disorders.

In the fall of 2014, students in both audiology and speech-language pathology participated in Walk2Hear, a national fundraising event organized by the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) in support of nearly 5 million Canadians who experience some form of hearing loss. Not only did our students break personal records, UBC SASS also came out as the top fundraising team nationwide!

In the coming months, audiology students will hold the school’s very first “Hearing Health & You” information session, specifically targeted at older adults who do not wear amplification devices. By promoting public awareness and an understanding of hearing loss, we hope to convey the importance of timely and appropriate audiological services to improving communication and overall quality of life.

Anahita Rustom, S-LP Student Representative

Selena Vermey, Audiology Student Representative
University of Quebec à Trois-Rivières 
Student Update
At the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, students who are starting their first year in any health program — speech-language pathology, medicine, podiatric medicine, nursing, midwifery, kinesiology, occupational therapy, chiropractic or psychology — are participating in a special class: ''Interprofessional 1''. This course aims to develop teamwork skills and is based on the idea that knowing more about other professions will help us better understand each other's role and be more open to collaboration. 

In the first class, back in September, students listened to a testimonial from a patient about his medical history and his many meetings with different professionals. Once they had heard the case history, students discussed what they think we can do to improve health services in our society. They also talked about how we can make sure that the patient's well-being is always at the heart of any decision.

During the second class, in November, 34 teams of 10 students each went around the campus to learn more about each of the professions. We learned a lot about the other disciplines, including their levels of academic training, roles and tasks, professional orders, legal frameworks, practice settings, target populations and requirements to enter the professions.

This class will continue all year long and we expect that it will give us the opportunity to make many more discoveries! Hopefully, teaching students to appreciate the value of interprofessional teamwork now will mean they are more accepting of opinions from other professionals in the future, which will improve opportunities for successful collaboration.

Karine Bureau, S-LP Student Representative

Ariane Lalancette-Chapdelaine, S-LP Student Representative

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