Friday, June 14, 2019

Exciting News!

The past few months in the Moore household have been very exciting! My husband and I will be expecting baby #2 this December! We are thrilled to have another little boy! 


It's amazing how quickly this pregnancy is going. I know that December is going to be here in a flash! I still have some very big goals that I hope to accomplish before this baby gets here. With morning sickness and exhaustion in the first trimester I was definitely slowed down with some of my goals. However, I am just about to enter into the second trimester and I feel the I am getting my energy back. 

My first goal will be getting my dissertation submitted for publication and then of course having it actually published. My second goal will be implementing my ASHA Leadership Development Project at my hospital. I hope to implement a care path for individuals with Head and Neck Cancer. There are a few other projects in the works but those are topic secret for now! Stay tuned!


Thursday, May 2, 2019

ASHA Leadership Development Program


Earlier the year I took a leap of faith and applied for the ASHA Leadership Development Program. I am so glad that I took this leap. This program is AMAZING!

Our Cohort’s journey started April 26th at the “mothership,” ASHA’s headquarters in Maryland. Our cohort was comprised of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists across the United States. We even had a dual-certified Speech-Language Pathologist from Canada! 

We came together for an extraordinary day-long lecture. In this lecture we dove into our individual emotional intelligence. We collaborated on areas of opportunity. Then we dove into our individual leadership projects. 

The program will last for one year. Once of a month we will come together and meet via computer for webinars. We will also meet with our own teams that were determined at the kick-off day-program. As you can see from our team poster, my team is pretty incredible!  

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I’m so excited to grow my personal leadership skills. If you haven’t considered this program before, I would highly recommend it! Take a look at https://www.asha.org/About/governance/Leadership-Development-Program/ for more information!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Sharing Research: A Behind the Scenes Look


This past year has been such an exciting adventure in professional growth and development. When 2019 was nearing, I took the time to reflect on my professional aspirations. One of my goals was to start sharing my research findings from my dissertation. My dissertation chair encouraged me to submit my research to the Dysphagia Research Society (DRS) for their 2019 conference. That was goal #1. Goal #2 was submitting for an oral presentation at my annual state organization conference. I completed both applications and I was thrilled when my presentations were accepted at both conferences!

My goal for this blog post is to talk about my personal experience in preparing and presenting research. The process of sharing your research can be intensive but it is truly an invaluable experience. There are two main types of presentations out there. An oral presentation which can last for a variety of times, 30 minutes, 1 hr, 2 hrs, 3 hrs, or full day institutes. Then there is a poster presentation.


POSTER PRESENTATIONS 
Preparing a poster presentation is very different than an oral presentation. I’ve presented two poster presentations in my career. The first was on my research I conducted as a graduate student. It was at my state association and lasted for maybe and hour and a half. My second poster presentation was just this past year at DRS 2019 in San Diego, California. This poster presentation was about my research findings from my dissertation. At this conference, we were required to stay at our poster for, I believe, an hour and a half. 

I was so thankful to have my dissertation chair, Dr. Fred DiCarlo, alongside to present these research findings. Preparing for the DRS 2019 conference was intimidating for a few different reasons. First, the best of the best dysphagia researchers are at this conference! Second, it is incredibly challenging to summarize a dissertation, that was 100 pages in length, down to just one poster. However, we did it! 

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Dr. DiCarlo and I had several meetings to select the material we specifically wanted on the poster. We reviewed the poster more times then I can count! Then, we prepared for the inevitable questions that we would be answering while various people reviewed our poster. One of the very best things that I did to prepare for this presentation was to have my own colleagues review my poster and then ask any question(s) that came to mind. This process was critical component for me in preparing for this presentation and I would highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in presenting posters in the future!

When it came time to present this poster, it felt like second nature. The atmosphere was welcoming. Fellow colleagues were there with curious minds and an eagerness to learn! I loved discussing my research findings in more of that one-on-one setting. In this format I could listen to the concerns of other speech-language pathologists and discuss thoughts for improvement in the field. 



ORAL PRESENTATIONS
Oral presentations are another ball game! I’ve given a few lectures before, but they have always been in a group setting. I was very involved in forensics and debate in high school. I loved public speaking classes. But in forensics and public speaking classes, the presented content was always someone else’s work. It was a humorous interpretation or a debate about policy. Giving a lecture on my own research, my own content, was a vulnerable experience. But it was a big goal for me to share my research, so this year I presented an hour lecture at the Missouri Speech-Language Hearing Association independently! My specific topic was discussing the evolution of the gold standards for dysphagia evaluations. I cannot tell you how much time I invested into this presentation. Day after day, night after night, I worked or thought about this presentation. 
Originally, I was nervous that I wouldn’t have enough content to fill an entire hour. However, when I sat down to practice, I had around 2.5hrs worth of content. Then I had to work on cutting down the presentation. This is actually a challenging process. You have to ask yourself “what is going to benefit the audience the most?” Then I rehearsed, rehearsed, and rehearsed! I’m pretty sure that my dogs have the speech memorized.  I also had trusted friends and colleagues listen to my lecture. I asked for honest feedback and then made more edits. 

Finally, the state conference arrived! I was terrified and incredibly excited! My colleague and I checked out the room the night before. They had it set for a small banquet so it looked like maybe 40 or so people could fit into that room. The next day, they had the room changed back over for presentations. I was in that room earlier in the day to listen to other lectures. The room could hold around 150 people. While I listened to other lectures during the day, the class size seemed pretty small, maybe 30 people. “Okay, I can do this,” I kept telling myself. Then it was time for my presentation. We had a 15 minute transition between speakers. I was able to hook up my computer without and difficulty. But wait! My speaker notes were being displayed on the projection screen. Oh no no no, I wasn’t ready for that. I kept trying to change the presentation format so my speaker notes would disappear but no luck. 

At this point in time I was starting to panic. The room was 80% full and I could feel my heart pounding. I was convinced that I would have to give the presentation by memory and without any of my notes. Finally, one of the techs came in and was able to fix the presentation with about 5 minutes to spare. Although we had everything fixed, I was feeling dizzy at this point. I looked out into the crowed and it looked like it was a full house. I estimated at least 140 people in the crowd. I had a moment where I thought I was actually going to faint. Only two minutes until presentation. I looked at the front row at an empty chair. Maybe I should sit down? Maybe I could give my presentation in the chair? One minute until presentation. Okay, well it’s time to do this! With a deep breath I started my presentation…

The presentation went by so quickly. Honestly, I don’t even remember all of it now because of all of the adrenaline. I know that my voice likely shook for the first 5 or so minutes but then I slowly got into my groove. The audience even laughed at a few of my jokes! At the end, a few people stayed to ask questions. One gentleman asked if my research was published yet and another woman came up to me later and shared with me that my presentation changed the way she would conduct her dysphagia evaluations in the future. The countless nights, the rehearsals, the anxiety, all totally worth it!

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ADVICE
If you are just starting out with research and you are wanting to present at different forums like me, then consider the following for success!

  1. Get started early on your presentation. A lot of conferences will require for you to turn in your slides about a month before the presentation. 

2. Proof read. This is should be a given, but always proof read multiple times!

3. Practice, practice, practice. It is great to practice by yourself but be sure to practice with colleagues or maybe even someone that makes you a bit nervous! Then it isn’t as terrifying when you are lecturing.

4. Print out your speaker notes. This was a lesson learned for me at the MSHA conference! If the tech wasn’t able to fix my slides, then I would have been up a creek without a paddle! So I will always have a copy of my speaker notes available from now on! 

5. Own it! You’ve worked hard, you put in the hours, you know your stuff. Go into the lecture with confidence and know that you will do great!

Friday, March 1, 2019

"Swing Thoughts"



Once upon a time, I wasn’t a Speech-Language Pathologist. Crazy right? My identify for so many years, has been that I am an SLP. But yes, before I went into the field I was actually a golfer. That was my identify for the majority of my life. My dad, Charlie Mahon, is a Class A PGA Golf Professional. My older brother, Charlie Mahon Jr., ran golf courses for most of his career and played for UMKC in college. My older sister, Courtney Mahon, she is now an LPGA Teaching Instructor and played for the University of Arkansas in college. My mom, our biggest cheerleader! I guess you can say I was born into a golfing family and it appeared that golf would be my destiny.

I played golf throughout high school and then moved onto earning a scholarship to play for Missouri State University. I learned so many life lessons from playing golf. I learned how to be patient with myself and patient with others. I learned about ethics, being a good teammate, and how to work incredibly hard. I learned how to juggle being a full time student and a college athlete. I learned that sometimes even with hard work and trying your best, that you may not be the best, and that is okay! 

My dad was my coach my entire life. He is an incredibly talented golfer and an even more talented instructor. I spent the majority of my time on the golf course. If I wasn’t at school, I was typically playing out on the course, putting, chipping, hitting range balls, or working at my dad’s golf course. All of that time gave me the opportunity to watch my dad instruct others. I was always amazed without he was able to relate the golf swing to the individual and what they knew. For example, I once overheard my dad talking about the golf swing like a dance while he was instructing a young girl who loved to dance. She was able to connect with that idea and improve her swing.

The best lesson that my dad taught me was when I was a senior in high school. I had a lot going on with my swing. If anyone of you are familiar with professional golf, for reference, my swing is a like a combination of John Daly and Jim Furyk. That is not a pretty combination! Obviously, we had a lot to work on! I was becoming incredibly frustrated during the lesson. Finally, my dad said, “we are going to pick 2 swing thoughts to work on and that’s it.” Swing thoughts, it is exactly like what it sounds like. Instead of thinking of my grip, my stance, coming over the top, my elbows, the club head, coming through, keeping my head down, etc. I was going to pick just two things to focus on. I was going to master those two things and then move on.

The concept not only significantly helped my golf performance, but it also shaped the way I approach my patients. We work with patients with complex dysphagia and communication deficits. Often times there are cognitive impairments as well that we are addressing. That can make carrying over our therapeutic interventions to day to day life, incredibly challenging. So often times, I tell my patients about my history with golf. I tell them about that golf lesson with my dad and how important it was for me to prioritize my needs, create a plan of action, and master those simple swing thoughts. Then, we create our plan. We prioritize the patient’s needs and we give a title to those needs. For example, when I am treating a voice patient, I may send them home with a list of exercises. However, I give them two very specific “voice thoughts” that I want their full priority on until I see them at their next session. Maybe their voice thoughts are “ reflux management” and “water intake.” Or maybe their voice thoughts are “water intake” and “easy onset.” These thoughts/goals are always custom to the patient’s needs.

It took me a few years of practicing before realizing how important this lesson was that my dad taught me. When I first tried it out with a patient, I was amaze with how well they connected to that idea. I have found that generally, my patients like learning more about me and my personal journey. They like to see that we all can benefit from different techniques. They like to have the specific focus that I have learned to give them. What techniques do you utilize in therapy to help focus your patients?

Friday, February 22, 2019

Ergonomics


Working as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), you wouldn’t think that ergonomics would be something to consider in the job description. I’ve been working as an SLP for 7 years without any difficulty with workplace ergonomics. Or so I thought! 
About 5-6 months ago I started having significant neck pain. At first, I chalked it up to sleeping on my neck wrong. But the pain was persisting and I started to feel it radiating down into my right elbow and hand. Two weeks went by and ibuprofen was just barley bringing down the pain. So it was off to my doctor!

After a thorough evaluation my doctor prescribed three things to me. Hydrocodone, a muscle relaxer, and physical therapy. I was incredibly fortunate to work with some amazing physical therapists at the hospital I work at so I knew the right people to go to.

During the assessment with my physical therapist, I almost cried just talking about the pain. Not because the pain was excruciating but because of how long and persistent this pain lasted. Nothing gave me complete relief! 

I completed my exercises multiple times a day and everyday. But I was still needing a pain reliever to keep the pain under control. I felt that there had to be a missing piece to the puzzle.

One of my fellow SLPs recommended to look at my ergonomics in my office. That was some of the best advice I could have received! I elevated my laptop with a laptop riser and I bought a wireless ergonomic friendly keyboard and mouse. Game changer! I continued my exercises for a period of time but eventually was able to stop them. I was able to 100% stop pain relieving medications and the muscle relaxers. Amazing!



I cannot believe that I waited 7 years to make such minor adjustments in my office. I would highly recommend looking into your own ergonomics and making adjustments, to reduce the risk of an injury like I had. I recently found out that my employer offers ergonomic assessments. Although I am currently feeling great, I have it on my things to do list to complete the assessment!

Interested in learning more about ergonomics? 
Check out these helpful websites below!





Saturday, January 19, 2019

A Year of Excitement!


At the start of 2019, I sat down and started to write out my goals. Oh boy, I made some pretty lofty goals for myself! One of them was to get back to writing consistently in this blog! As I started drafting this post, I decided to open up the blog and see how long ago it was since I last wrote. Guys, it was September of 2017! What in the world happened? Where did the time go? 

Ha! I’ll tell you exactly where all of the time went… 
To this little man right here! He is such a ham!



2017-2018 was a world-wind for my family! My son, Benjamin, turned one. He is now 19 months, can you believe it? But after he turned one we were hit with ear infection after ear infection. He eventually needed bilateral tubes which somewhat helped. He actually had his left tube replaced less then a month ago because it wouldn’t drain. Mama life is not for the faint of heart!  

When I wasn’t spending all of my time with my little guy, I was finishing up my clinical doctorate! I graduated this past May from Nova Southeastern University. My mom and my aunt came to the graduation. It was everything that I hoped for and more! Through an incredible amount of hard work, I graduated with honors, was inducted into the Alpha Eta Society, and was awarded with the Chancellor’s Award from the University. It took me four years to complete the program and I’ll tell you that every minute was worth it. Would I do it again? In a heart beat! 


Now, I am preparing to present my dissertation findings at the Dysphagia Research Society in March. Then, I will present an hour lecture at my state organization in April. On top of these exciting presentations, I have really pushed myself to DREAM BIG this year and commit myself to those aspirations! Stay tuned for updates on those big dreams coming to life, research, and more therapy techniques through this blog and my Facebook page! Trust me, you won’t want to miss them!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Fisher-Price Bright Pods Review

          This past May my husband and I welcomed our first born, Benjamin, into our family. We absolutely love this happy boy! During my maternity leave I learned so much about his personality, likes, and dislikes. Unfortunately, one of his dislikes happened to be tummy time! We struggled most days to get our 30 minutes in but we were able to do it through a lot of creativity.

            As many of you early intervention speech-language pathologists know, tummy time is critical for infants to develop head control/strength, form proper head shape, and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Since Benjamin was not a fan of tummy time, naturally as a new mom, I was terrified that his head wouldn’t form correctly, that he wouldn’t crawl, and of course of SIDS. So we pushed through some tearful events of tummy time.

Eventually, we were able to find our own groove with tummy time. We used so many techniques to improve the experience of tummy time. We used mirrors, rattles, high contrast books, etc. However, it wasn’t until the use of a toy that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law loaned us, as well as my knowledge of language, that tummy time became less of a burden and more of a fun experience for our family.



The Bright Beats 3-in-1 Bright Pods are made by Fisher-Price. You can find the link to the product here. The Fisher-Price website described the three major ways a baby can grow and play with these bright pods:  

“1: Tummy Time – Fosters core development, visual & auditory stimulation with glowing lights and basic musical tones
2: Sit & Jam– Sitting babies bat each pod to hear more music and add drum beats
3: Crawl & Chase – Encourages baby to crawl from one pod to another as music builds, helping to exercise gross motor skills!”

Now, I am not being paid by fisher-price. These opinions are completely my own. I just have to say that I think fisher-price is selling itself way short on what this toy can really stimulate! Yes I agree with all of the above. BUT…this toy in “therapist” terms can also help develop:

1.     Cause and effect at different levels. Depending on the setting, the baby can touch the light in order to make the music continue or the baby can touch the pod and make the pod light up.
2.     Sound localization. Since the music alternates between the pods, this gives the opportunity for the baby to start to localize sound.
3.     Language development. I love using sign support speech with my son. Whenever the music stops I will simultaneously sign and verbalize “Oh no! The music stopped. Do we want more music? We do? Okay...Go!”


Personally, I think this toy is great for the typically developing child as well as a child with developmental disabilities. I would however be cautious with using this toy with a child with seizure disorder due to the flashing lights. At only a cost of $25, I think that this toy is a must have!