Are Your Services Educationally Relevant?

Jean BlosserSchool Programs in Speech-Language Pathology 5th Edition

Jean L. Blosser, EdD, CCC-SLP
President, Creative Strategies for Special Education
Author, School Programs in Speech-Language Pathology: Organization and Service Delivery, Fifth Edition, Plural Publishing, 2012

Educational Relevance—What an Important Concept!
Does a child’s disability impact his or her performance in the classroom? If yes, would services such as speech-language intervention, occupational therapy, or physical therapy make a difference? Should those services be intensive, provided face-to-face or via technology, or integrated into the classroom? The primary question is, if therapy services are offered, will the intervention provided make a difference in the student’s classroom performance, ability to access the curriculum, and/or ability to reach his or her potential?

These are huge questions that administrators, educators, clinicians, and parents ponder every day. When school teams evaluate a student, they seek to determine how the disability may be interfering with the student’s learning. Key educational areas that may be affected are academic, social-emotional, and vocational performance. If everyone agrees there is an adverse effect on educational performance, the student’s eligibility for services is confirmed.

How Do We Guarantee Educational Relevance? Continue reading

Winter Break Photo Sweepstakes!

Winter Break Photo Sweepstakes

Win a free textbook for the spring semester by entering our Winter Break Photo Sweepstakes! Show us how you learn, teach and make a difference with your Plural Publishing books and enter to win ANY Plural book of your choice! The sweepstakes starts January 5th and ends January 15th. The winner will be announced on January 16th!

How To Win:
1.  Post a picture on Twitter and/or Pinterest of yourself studying, teaching or working with your Plural book(s). One photo entry per person please.
2.  Tag @PluralPub and use #PluralSweeps in your post.
3.  Follow us on Twitter and Pinterest
4.  Vote for your favorite entries by commenting and liking the photos you think should win.  Entries can be found using #PluralSweeps on Twitter and on our Winter Break Photo Sweeps Pinterest Board.  All entries will be pinned to the sweepstakes Pinterest board. Encourage friends to vote as well!

The photo with the most likes and comments by the end of January 15th wins! All entrants will receive a 15% discount code valid at  Entrants will be contacted through direct messaging on Pinterest or Twitter.

We can’t wait to see your creative, fun photos!

Management of Facial Paralysis

By Mark K. Wax, MD

Editor of Facial Paralysis: A Comprehensive Rehabilitative Approach

Facial Paralysis: A Comprehensive Rehabilitative Approach

Facial Paralysis: A Comprehensive Rehabilitative Approach

Facial paralysis is a devastating process. Normal facial function is of paramount importance in both cosmesis and how individuals are perceived by others. It also plays a role in natural physiological processes. When the facial nerve—which provides animation to the muscles of the face—is paralyzed, there are severe cosmetic, psychological, as well as physiologic sequelae. The facial plastic surgeon has the ability to play a unique role in both the reconstruction and the rehabilitation of the adverse effects of facial paralysis. Management paradigms for the multitude of issues that face these patients involve a team approach—not only facial plastic surgeons, but also speech pathologists, physiotherapists, social workers, family, and so forth. The facial plastic surgeon stands at the epicenter, able to direct the care of the patient to these different specialists. Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

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

Featured Article: One New Year’s Resolution to Keep

One New Year’s resolution to keep – learn more about being an effective speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) supervisor

by Plural author Jennifer Ostergren

If you are like me, as 2014 swings into full gear, you look to your newly inked New Year’s resolutions. One resolution on my list this year is to expand my knowledge and skills as an educator and supervisor of speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs). Those of you with similar aspirations know that serving as an SLPA supervisor can be highly rewarding, but also challenging, especially given a lack of resources and tools specific to SLPAs. This year, however, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) continues to expand its efforts in this area, with new programs, policies, and resources specific to SLPAs and their supervisors. In particular, ASHA’s new Practice Portal on the topic of SLPAs, located at, is an excellent source of current information and resources on this topic. The sections that follow also highlight several key resources from ASHA that may be of help as well. Continue reading

Featured Article: The Challenge of Clinical Education in Speech-Language Pathology

By James M. Mancinelli, MS CCC-SLP and Evelyn Klein, PhD. CCC-SLP

This article provides an overview of important issues facing clinical training of graduate students today. In light of current training models, budget constraints, staffing shortages, and productivity demands, it is time to take a hard look at the requirements and demands set by our profession in the hopes of making needed changes

The 2005 and 2014 ASHA Standards require that the student enrolled in a Master’s degree program in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) obtain 400 clinical hours “across the lifespan with varied disorders”: 375 hours in direct contact with the patient/client and 25 observation hours.  This is a broad guideline and superficially seems reasonable and achievable. After all, the requirement that the student obtain a specified number of contact hours in each of the disorders, with adults and children, in assessment and treatment have been removed. Unfortunately, the current service delivery contexts in which speech-language pathologists practice are all impacted by fiscal constraints, staffing shortages, and productivity requirements.  Although these three factors may not necessarily affect the quality of care, they are seriously impacting the ability to clinically train graduate students in CSD.  It is imperative that other models be developed for clinical education and training and that the discipline reviews the evidence that supports maintaining the status quo.  This is especially critical as some programs are being asked to admit more students into the graduate program, creating the need for even more external clinical practicum experiences. Continue reading