2017 Speech-Language- Hearing Association of Virginia Convention

SHAV2017On March 23-25th, I was able to attend my second Speech-Language- Hearing Association of Virginia Convention this year in Richmond, Virginia!  I attended sessions that provided me with several resources and references that will be useful to me as an upcoming graduate.  During the conference, I broadened my knowledge of assessment and intervention methods for children with autism spectrum disorder.  I learned about several apps that can be downloaded with a variety of purposes that will be helpful when working with children and adults.  There were several companies and school systems at the conference that are currently looking to hire speech-language pathologists.  I signed up to receive information from various schools and other facilities to learn more about their job opportunities.  I also met representatives from various companies that assist the speech-language pathologist locate jobs and find contacts with schools, home health care, skilled nursing facilities, and other settings.  I was able to network with individuals in the field of speech-language pathology.  During the conference, I collected information packets on various types of pediatric and adult hearing aids.  These brochures and packets will be helpful resources for me in the school system since there are not always audiologists on staff.


SHAV Conference 2017

FullSizeRenderOn March 23-25th, I had the opportunity to attend the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia (SHAV) Conference for the third time. I look forward to meeting up with peers, networking with other speech-language pathologists, and learning new information each year. This time, I attended a variety of sessions about managing a school case-load, early intervention, pediatric and adult dysphagia, writing, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and fluency. I attended four session by Vivian Sisskin about making a differential diagnosis for stuttering versus other types of disfluencies, as well as an up-and-coming approach to treating stuttering called Avoidance Reduction Therapy. I liked attending this year more than previous years because, now that I am finally in my externships and looking for a job, I can directly relate what I am learning in these sessions to my clients.

2017 SHAV Conference, Reflection by Meredith Peck

SHAV2017reflectionI had the opportunity this past week to attend the 2017 Speech-Hearing-Language Society of Virginia (SHAV) Conference: “Every Day Leaders Lifelong Learners.” This is my third time attending the state conference for speech-language pathologists, and every year reminds me why I chose Longwood University. The professors encourage us to become active in the professional community and lead by example. They all attend and many present every year. I am confident when I enter the field that they will be there to support me at community events, such as the SHAV conference.


SHAV Conference 2017

Me (on the right) and my graduate student friends at the SHAV conference

Me (on the right) and my graduate student friends at the SHAV conference.

On March 23rd,24th, and 25th, I had opportunity to go to the Speech and Hearing Association of Virginia conference thanks to a generous contribution from the CGPS. While at the conference, I learned a diverse array of information pertaining to the field of speech-language pathology about topics including, desensitization to stuttering, the use of applied behavior analysis in autism, the classification of speech errors in articulation and phonology, the language of poverty, and the use of different viscosities in barium swallow studies. My favorite presentation was about how stuttering can be better treated by using techniques to decrease fear and anxiety. I appreciated how the presenter Vivian Sisskin, used videos to show the incredible progress her clients made in a very short amount of time. As I am interested in working in the school system with K-3rd grade, I know this information will be beneficial for me as a practicing clinician when treating children who stutter. I am excited to attend the next SHAV conference in Williamsburg, VA and learn more about the field of speech-language pathology!


My First VSRA Conference


From Left to Right: McKenzie Melton (Blogger), Christina Kline, Emily Pleasants, Georgia Skipper

This past weekend, on March 17, 2017, I attended my first VSRA conference thanks to the travel grant that was given to me by Longwood’s College of Graduate and Professional Studies.Our first session was with Steven Layne, who spoke to all attending about how important solid read alouds are for students of all ages. His powerful and moving example on how to truly engage students in a text was a model for all professionals in that room. I was then able to attend three concurrent sessions: the first having to do with station activities and ideas for primary grades, the second having to do with how to bring technology into the classroom, and finally, how to connect dance and other art forms to writing. I enjoyed my final concurrent session the most; I enjoyed hearing about the event that she and a local dance teacher held for their community and talking with other professionals about how something similar could be brought to the classroom. I believe every student has a passion and strength, and sometimes those do not include oral presentations. Giving students the option to show their mastery of the content through art forms will engage and build a positive self-efficacy into students who are not really understood in the typical classroom setting. I could not be more excited to use all of the skills and practices I learned during VSRA in my future classroom, and I plan on attending the conference every year from now on!

VSRA Conference

VSRAI attended the Virginia State Reading Association’s 50th Annual Reading Conference in Roanoke, Virginia. I truly enjoyed every moment of the experience. Being surrounded by that many people who all have an amazing impact on children every day was incredible. The first session that I attended at the conference was entitle In Defense of Read-Aloud by Dr. Steven Layne. This presentation inspired me from the first moment. I hope to teach middle school in the future, so it was important to hear that read-aloud has just as much benefit for these older students as it does for elementary learners. One of the biggest take-aways I had from this presentation was the importance of establishing a hook when reading a book aloud. It is essential to read a higher amount in those first few days until students are begging for you to read; when they reach that point, they are hooked! One of the concurrent sessions I attended was on the topic of grammar with Dr. Keith Polette. This session was a great refresher on a wide variety of grammatical topics such as abstract vs. concrete nouns, the parts of speech, and instructional strategies to utilize when providing this information to students. I have since ordered Dr. Polette’s book, Teaching Grammar Through Writing, and plan to incorporate many of these ideas into my classroom. I also attended a session on incorporating technology into the classroom, specifically literature circles. In this session, I learned about the SAMR model of incorporating technology in the classroom. The last session I attended was centered on the Virginia Reader’s Choice texts selected for middle and high school readers this year. This was an incredible session to attend because it gave me a great list of texts to start with when recommending books to my students int the future! I truly enjoyed every aspect of this conference and plan to attend next year’s as well! I am so thankful for this opportunity that the Graduate Travel Grant has given me.

VSRA Conference


What an incredible way to spend a weekend!  Not only did I learn about the most widely used resources in literacy, but I also rediscovered my first love, students.  Many times we can grow weary in our well-doing, and this conference rekindled my passion, not just for reading, but for the kids I serve.  On Thursday, I met Marcia Invernizzi of Words Their Way fame, and heard her present to a packed hall, while grinning from ear to ear.  Later, Our Longwood family met on Thursday night and set the tone of circumspect celebration for this weekend.  As our cohort nears May graduation, I was pleased to be part of this time of refreshing and rebuilding the inspiration that began our journey.  The most remarkable opportunity I had in Roanoke was to meet the Literacy Coach for a juvenile detention center in Northern Virginia.  I started a similar position on Monday March 20, and the insight I received during her presentation (and after) have proven to be invaluable as I begin this new journey.  VRSA was a rare opportunity to consider my work as an educator as a personal investment in the future.  Perhaps kick-off presenter, Mr. Turban, put it best when he said, “Teaching is a life well lived.”  Thank you, Longwood RLL and College of Graduate Studies, for the chance to remember and revisit my first love.

VSRA Conference


Hello! I had the pleasure of attending the 50th Annual Virginia State Reading Association conference at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center on March 17th, 2017. This conference was a first for me, and I can say with sincerity that it was an amazing experience to be surrounded by such knowledgeable and passionate educators in the field of literacy. The keynote speaker, Dr. Steven Layne, enthralled us all with an amazing read-aloud from Sold by Patricia McCormick as well as a great discussion about his discoveries during the process of writing his book In Defense of Read-Aloud. This text is now on my must-buy list because Layne brought together an “army” – as he calls it – of professionals and researchers to prove once-and-for-all, to reluctant administrators and teachers who are not believers, that read-alouds are necessary and advantageous for all students K through 12.

The break-out sessions throughout the afternoon were just as engaging and informative! My favorite session was with Keith Polette, a professor from the University of Texas, who provided teachers with concrete examples to implement direct instruction with grammar in meaningful and authentic contexts. Instead of drilling our students with worksheets, they simply need to learn the 17 basic elements of grammar and be given opportunities to apply them in their own writings. His humorous approach to this concept helped many of us to clarify our own misconceptions and walk away with a fresh outlook on teaching grammar.

Attending this conference has helped me to gain insight and resources to help prepare me for my upcoming first year of teaching!

VSRA Conference

VSRAOn March 16th-18th, I attended the 50th Annual Virginia State Reading Association conference in Roanoke, Virginia. The conference had sessions on every aspect of literacy imaginable. One of the great highlights of the conference was key note speaker, Steven Layne. He was there to discuss his newest book, In Defense of  Read-Aloud. The lecture was both motivating and informational as he shared his arguments for the case of the read-aloud as being an essential practice for students in grades in grades K-8. I also attended a hands-on session that modeled how to combine literacy with STEM by providing students with opportunities to collaboratively solve problems that were presented in picture books. In addition, I learned how to build student comprehension by teaching them to predict, question, clarify, and summarize while reading. I came home with not only new ideas, but also some great (and free!) materials to use in my classroom. Overall, the conference was an enriching experience and I look forward to attending next year!


AT Symposium CollaborATe: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Assistive Technology through the Lifespan

FullSizeROn March 11th, I had the opportunity to attend sessions and present at the poster session during the second annual AT Symposium CollaborATe: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Assistive Technology through the Lifespan at VCU’s Children Hospital of Richmond.  While at the conference, I was able to learn more about a variety of assistive devices that can be used to communicate and to complete other daily tasks.   The conference included a presentation from a teenage assistive technology (AT) user and her mother.  The mother shared many personal stories about the teenagers experiences with AT which included sharing ideas of how to create and construct assistive devices with inexpensive materials.  Additionally, I learned about devices that involve low to no technology but are still assistive devices for communication.  I met several representatives from various non-profit organizations that allow people in need to trial products and purchase the supplies with a payment plan.  Furthermore, I was honored to have our group’s poster selected to be presented at the conference.  I met other professionals in the field of speech-language pathology and discussed various aspects of working as a speech-language pathologist. I am thankful to have had the chance to use the CGPS travel grant to attend and present at the AT conference.

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