Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Advice for SLPs going to ASHA! or "What I wish I'd known before I went to ASHA..."

Hi, it's Kristin. I’m so jealous of all of you who are going to ASHA!!!  Deeply jealous.

Well, just for fun, I made a list last year of all the things I learned and wanted to do in future years.  Let me know if you have anything to add!!

  • Carry business cards.  There are so many situations where you want to give them out.  You meet new friends and connections.  AND so many booths have contests where you can either fill out their form OR drop a card in the jar!  Duh- why didn’t I bring mine?  Bring a TON. I also saw many people bring a sheet of labels or a stack of small papers with all their info to drop in context and info boxes, etc.    (Include name, workplace, address, and email.)  Smart! 
  • Meet people for lunch each day (It’s a great time to catch up and review what you learned.  It’s so easy not to make plans and then just eat on your own otherwise.  Lame.
  • Pick classes early (beforehand) and bring the “My planner” printouts and the ASHA leader insert.  Write your schedule out including back-up classes with room numbers so you don’t have to look things up throughout the day.
  • Print out your handouts early (via or at least as many as you can.
  • Plan on bringing home extra stuff!  Like freebies, SLP garb you buy in the booths and stores, papers papers papers...

  •            Carry snacks, gum, sunglasses!
  •       Go to the presentations by the “famous” presenters.  It makes a difference.
  •       Do the “Short Courses.”  They tend to be excellent. 
  •        Do the ASHA boxed lunches (on your registration sheet).
  •       Keep a list of attended courses as you attend for easy CEU entry afterward.
  •       Schedule time for exhibit hall browsing. 
  •       AND save time for poster sessions.  Did you know you can get CEUs for time in poster sessions?
  •       However, you don’t have to go to poster sessions while the presentation is actually being given.
  •       Grab a “Daily Update” each morning from the info booths to learn about fun events and cancelled sessions. 
  •             Bring your iPad or smart phone for contests, etc.  There are sessions ABOUT therapeutic apps.  You’ll want to have your device there to practice IN-session. 
  •             Wear shoes AND socks.  Seriously, there is a LOT of walking.  I got blisters.
  •       Dress nice.  Jeans are ok, but wear a nice shirt.  I think about these things…  
  •       The classrooms were chilly.  Wear a jacket and long sleeves.

  •       Stay somewhere nice (I tried to save a buck and stay in a really cheap place.  Bad idea in more ways than one),
  •       Stay near the Convention Center
  •       Need to be frugal?  Get a room then post on the roommate forum so others can join you and split the cost.
  •       Watch out for flaky people on the roommate forum!  I got ditched by someone at the last minute (it was she who had the hotel room) and that’s why nothing was left and I had to go to that crappy motel.
  •       Consider getting a group together and renting a condo (search “rental by owner.”)  My friends did this – genius!!
  •       You can also stay with a local person (roommate forum)?  I had fun doing this for part of my stay, and I made a new friend.
  •       Bring workout clothes and go running in an awesome place in the city!

 Do you have suggestions of your own, ASHA-savvy folks?  Post your comments.  Have fun at ASHA.  Tell me what you learn!



  1. HEY! It's me, JoLynne, from grad school. I stumbled upon your blog and all I have to say is wow! You both seem to have everything under control and seem so knowledgeable! Can I just say that I feel so overwhelmed! I am in my first job, doing my CFY year and let's just say that I am quitting after my CFY is over. We want to have a third child and working part-time and managing everything in my life is just too overwhelming. I am working in a 0-3 center. I don't even have any difficult kids and I am still overwhelmed by the thought of how much I don't know! I am actually going to work as per needed at a retirement home. I need to decide where I best fit in and what age of patients I like serving best. I figure that working as per needed at the retirement home will allow me to learn from the full-time therapist that plans the actual therapy. Sheesh! Please keep posting, I will keep reading!

  2. Jo!
    How's it going???!!?? Long time no see! Its good to hear from you! I completely understand how overwhelming it can be when you first jump in. I get that way and I've been working in the schools for more than 5 years. We have 4 kids now, and life is crazy!! Anyway, good to hear from ya!

  3. JoLynne!! I have missed you- it's so good to hear from you. Sounds like you're having an adventure with the 0-3 kids. I'm sure you are an awesome therapist. The CFY year is just hard in so many random ways. I'm curious to see how you like the total shift over to geriatrics! Let me know. Stay in touch. And thanks for reading the blog!

  4. Hello Kristin and Bob,

    I'm a fan of your blog! I think your diverse work setting experiences complement each other very well. The combined perspectives result in quality content & insight.

    About me- my name is Gary Adams and I share your passion for SLP! Recently, I've led a talented team to create a really cool, free resource for SLPs. I'd like to take this chance to share it with you and other leaders in the SLP community.

    I'll be thrilled if you give it a try:

  5. Oh I would love to go! I'm planning on going with some friends next year and am already getting excited reading your blog! Thanks for the tips-there were a few I hadn't thought of....