OSSPEAC Fall Conference {A belated post!}

OSSPEAC, a non-profit, state organization dedicated to school speech-language pathologists and educational audiologists, is absolutely another reason why those of us lucky buckeye staters might yell, O-H...I-O!  It's been awhile since I last was able to attend an annual conference and it has absolutely nothing to do with having three little buggers at home that have blessed my world for the past 9 years.  So, when I last attended {possibly 9 years ago} I remember leaving feeling invigorated.  Two days of learning and being empowered by new best practices and legal updates presented by energetic, compassionate, and selfless experts in the field.  Who could ask for more?  Did I tell you everything relates to SLPs just like me working in the public schools in Ohio?  Too good to be true, I know.

My bags ready for a speechie getaway!
So, when I attended over a week ago {sorry for the delay in posting}, here is just a snapshot of what I experienced...

Joining not a dry eye in the crowd, I had the privilege of witnessing as Susan Jane King told her story of Finding Patrick's Voice, a story of a mother's journey to find her autistic son's voice.  Inspiring is an understatement and that was even before Patrick himself spoke and sang.  Words cannot even express the value of this message.  It reminded me so much of a young man with Autism whom I met early in my career and detailed from his perspective growing up with Autism and finally finding his voice in 3rd grade when he just started reading fluently from a grade level text.  I will surely read the full autographed memoir Optimism for Autism.

Tiered vocabulary instruction was a hot topic.  Based on research by Isabel Beck, focus for word learning is suggested using Tier 2 words.  These words are lower frequency and relevant across disciplines.  Laura Justice, a researcher and professor from The Ohio State University, emphasized the goal of changing the lexicon (phonological representation, semantic representation, orthographic representation, syntactic category, and inflectional pattern) by building relationships among words, promoting word consciousness (having students identify words they don't know), and to introduce words which the child will seldom be exposed, but which are important.  Within my notes in the varied presentations on vocabulary I attended, the words REPEAT and EXTEND were noted in caps.  I'll surely be reviewing and paying close attention when improving my vocabulary therapy.

Maximal Oppositions, focusing on the research of Gierut and Fey, was a technique that had a labeled file but no contents within my brain's filing cabinets.  Call it completely crazy to start with later developing, non-stimulable sounds using maximal oppositions?  What happened to developmentally appropriate sounds and minimal pairs?  Believe me, I'm jumping in with two feet and I already have the students to start charting.  I will surely report back and offer more of the research on this technique.

Weighing heavily on the mind of many overwhelmed Ohio SLPs, the outcomes from the Caseload Ratio Study headed by Dr. Charles Carlin and updates regarding workload were presented.  This could be a very long post should I choose to comment on this soapbox.  Let me just say, Ohio SLPs hopefully will be forever endebted to Dr. Carlin, as well as a collection of SLP supervisors representing the ODE support team regions, for their tireless efforts to include workload when determining school-based positions.

If you are an Ohio SLP, make sure to create an account at the new OMNIE website.  This site is "designed to improve the day to day life of educators who work with students with communication disorders."  I'd even join if I wasn't an SLP from Ohio.  The information is extremely VALUABLE!

Finally, quote of the weekend by my colleague, friend, and roommate during OSSPEAC, "you are exhausting!"  I guess you can gather that thinking about speech related issues did not end when the sessions ended!  Compliment accepted.

This conference cannot be missed again!


  1. I'm glad you were able to get away and found the time well spent! Better to be exhausting than exhausted!


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