Augmentative and Alternative Communication: From Novice to Expert Clinician

By John McCarthy, PhD, CCC-SLP and Aimee Dietz, PhD, CCC-SLP

Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Augmentative and Alternative Communication by John McCarthy and Aimee Dietz

Understanding the personal story of an individual who uses augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) can have a positive impact on the attitudes of people without disabilities toward that individual (McCarthy, Donofrio-Horwitz, & Smucker, 2010). Almost any AAC specialist has story after story of moments when they have helped reveal the true abilities of an individual through AAC:

• The eight-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who everyone assumed had below average intellectual ability and presymbolic language skills, was in fact bilingual.
• The forty-year-old woman with bulbar onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis who cannot dress or feed herself, but still manages her finances, parents her children, and makes end-of-life decisions.
• The eighteen-year-old girl with autism spectrum disorder whose potential to contribute to society was doubted, yet planned for employment after high school and managed a new mobile device-based communication system.
• The fifty-two-year-old man with stroke-induced aphasia who medical staff assumed was “incompetent”; however, still made informed decisions about medical care and enjoyed friendly banter on the golf course with his adult sons.  Continue reading

Plural Sponsors Communication Sciences and Disorders Library in China

Angie Singh, Plural Publishing CEO and President, has donated a collection of voice and communication sciences and disorders books to the Jinan University in China in honor of the late Dr. Sadanand Singh. Dr. Singh, founder of Plural Publishing, Inc. was an an esteemed international leader in the field of communication sciences and disorders.

Donation plaque

Plural’s donation is in recognition of the collaboration between Jinan University and Ohio University in promoting the field of communication sciences and disorders in China.

Plural's collection of communication sciences and disorders books at Jinan University Library in China (2014).

Plural’s collection of communication sciences and disorders books at Jinan University Library in China (2014).

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Ten Advances in Cochlear Implant Technology and Services

By: Jace Wolfe, PhD

Over the past several years, there have been numerous advances in cochlear implant technology and services. As recent as a decade ago, there were little to no technological solutions available to assist a cochlear implant candidate/recipient, who presented with severe to profound hearing loss, with speech recognition in difficult listening situations—understanding speech in noisy and reverberant settings, over the telephone or television, and when spoken from a distance. Today, cochlear implant manufacturers offer a wide variety of solutions to meet the needs of patients with hearing aids or cochlear implant processors who struggle to communicate. This article identifies ten ways in which cochlear implant technology and services have evolved and improved in the past few years.

10. Automatic scene classification: Hearing aids have featured acoustic scene classifiers for almost a decade. Through these systems, hearing aids classify an environment as one that possesses background noise, speech in quiet or in noise, music, wind, and so forth. Once the listening situation is classified into one of these environments, the hearing aid selects the appropriate form of signal processing that will theoretically optimize performance in the given environment. This technology can be quite valuable as many users are unlikely to manually switch to programs designed for specific, challenging situations. Furthermore, this system will likely be well-received by cochlear implant users as it makes its way to implant sound processors.

9. The development of new speech recognition materials that provide a more realistic assessment of how hearing aid and implant users perform in real-life listening situations: Cochlear implant technology has improved so much that many users score near 100% correct on sentence recognition tests in a quiet environment with a single talker who is male and speaks at a slow to moderate rate. Additionally, many hearing aid users who struggle substantially in realistic situations also often score too well on these tests to meet the indications for cochlear implant candidacy. This fact makes it difficult to distinguish between excellent implant and hearing aid users and good users who may benefit from additional services.

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Reflections on 10 years at Plural

An interview with Plural President, Angie Singh

Angie Singh

Angie Singh, Plural Publishing’s President

What is your favorite moment in Plural’s history?

“My favorite moment occurred before Plural was incorporated. Some of the things we had most valued and had come to miss most in the ten years after the sale of Singular [the Singh's previous publishing house] were the close relationships, daily interactions and sense of purpose and commitment that we had shared with our authors.

One day, I received a call from longtime friend and Singular author Dr. Robert Sataloff, who suggested that we should start a new company. The idea intrigued my beloved husband and me but it also presented us with many challenges and concerns that included financial investment and the extraordinary time commitments that would alter and affect our lifestyle, especially with our eight year old twins.

We managed to overcome the most serious of concerns and embarked on a journey that became Plural Publishing. We were immediately pleased to learn that many of our past authors were eager to join us in the new venture. Ten years after founding Plural, I couldn’t be more gratified.” Continue reading

Meeting Industry Demands of the 21st-Century Vocal Athlete

By Wendy D. LeBorgne, PhD, CCC-SLP and Marci Rosenberg, MS, CCC-SLP

hy•brid sing•er- (n). Refers to the vocal athlete who is highly skilled performing in multiple vocal styles possessing a solid vocal technique that is responsive, adaptable, and agile in order to meet demands of current and ever-evolving vocal music industry genres.

Through our years of professional singing, training, and performance (resulting in an evolution to become voice pathologists and singing voice specialists), we have encountered a transition in the industry demands and injuries of the 21st-century vocal athlete. Today’s commercial music industry demands versatility of vocal athletes who are now expected to be skilled in multiple styles of singing. Not only are these singers asked to perform vocal gymnastics on an eight-show per week schedule, these vocal athletes must also possess excellent acting skills and strong dancing ability to be competitive. These demands on the voice, body, and psyche necessitate a physically, vocally, and mentally fit singer who is agile and adaptable. Continue reading

Ground-Breaking Book on the Mind-Body Link in Singers

Mind-Body Awareness for Singers by Karen Leigh-Post

Mind-Body Awareness for Singers by Karen Leigh-Post

Mind-Body Awareness for Singers: Unleashing Optimal Performance provides a fundamental understanding of functional anatomy and cognitive neuroscience to guide singers and teachers of singing to unlocking the mystery of the mind-body link involved in the complex audio-motor behavior that is singing.

New theories and concepts, rooted in both the wisdom of masters in the field and current scientific research, are introduced from the unique perspective of the performer. Practical application exercises train the singer to work with, rather than against, the systems of singing to integrate the cognitive and conscious with the unconscious sensory and motor processes of our nervous system. Continue reading

Brand New Practical Resource for Voice Coaches

Body and Voice: Somatic Re-education by Marina Gilman

Body and Voice: Somatic Re-education by Marina Gilman

Body and Voice: Somatic Re-education by Marina Gilman, MM, MA, CCC-SLP, is an excellent resource for teachers of singing, voice coaches, and speech-language pathologists who work with singers and other voice professionals. It provides a new paradigm for working with singers in a way that allows for improved kinesthetic awareness needed to work with their body rather than against it. The text contains a series of lessons designed to train singing teachers, coaches, and voice therapists to recognize in their students the patterns of use and posture that interfere with respiration, phonation, and/or resonance. In addition, it provides tools for the teacher to guide the student to a level of self-awareness of habituated patterns along with strategies to implement change from the inside out. Continue reading

Invaluable Resources for Anyone Who Uses or Trains the Singing Voice

The Vocal Athlete

The Vocal Athlete by Wendy LeBorgne and Marci Rosenberg

The Vocal Athlete and the companion workbook The Vocal Athlete: Application and Technique for the Hybrid Singer are written and designed to bridge the gap between the art of contemporary commercial music (CCM) singing and the science behind voice production in this ever-growing popular vocal style. These books are a must have for the speech pathologist, singing voice specialist, and vocal pedagogue. Continue reading

New Release of Counseling in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Counseling in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Counseling in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology by Dr. Anthony DiLollo and Dr. Robert Neimeyer

For Immediate Release (San Diego, CA – June 6, 2014) – Counseling in the field of communication disorders is an essential dimension of professional practice, but just what it entails is often a bit of a mystery. Counseling in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology: Reconstructing Personal Narratives addresses this common concern of students and practitioners by illustrating how to integrate the concept of counseling into clinical practice. Replete with a variety of case studies, clinical guidelines, and actual transcripts of counseling interventions with clients and their families, as well as a practical “toolbox” of specific counseling methods, Dr. DiLollo and Dr. Neimeyer offer a comprehensive, novel, and empirically informed approach to counseling, applicable to a broad range of speech, language, swallowing, and hearing disorders. Continue reading

Bollywood comes to San Diego to raise money for the ASHFoundation

Angie making dinner at ASHFoundation fundraiser

Angie making dinner at ASHFoundation fundraiser

This past Saturday, June 7th, Plural President and CEO Angie Singh hosted a “Bollywood”-themed fundraiser at her home in La Jolla, CA, with proceeds benefiting the ASHFoundation. Created in 1946 by a visionary leader in the field of communication sciences, Wendell Johnson, the ASHFoundation is a charitable organization that supports the advancement of knowledge in this field and seeks to improve the lives of people with speech, language, or hearing disorders. Continue reading