Wow I just got back on the red eye from the city of angels early this morning. Exhausted but filled with enthusiasm from the weekend. I just got home from my first trip to ASHA. After being in the field for 14 years, this was my first visit to this colossal conference and I can say for sure that it won’t be my last.
Getting there was quite the adventure and took about 1 whole day – yikes!! I made my hotel reservation the day that the hotels opened up, so I ended up staying at the JW Marriott – which was super close and so lovely! I got in on Thursday evening, just enough time to check into my hotel and head over to the conference to check in and go to a little reception at the ASHA leader booth for people who have contributed this past year. I wrote an article called “ It Can Be Fun And Games” in the school matters section of the September 2017 ASHA Leader. Check it out here. It was so nice to meet some of the editors that I had worked with virtually this past year. I had also contributed a piece to the blog about collaboration strategies for SLPs and BCBAs. Check that out here.
After saying hi at the leader booth, I took some of the action builder cards (the product that I have created) to the Dynamic Resources booth. How exhilarating to see my product on display for other therapists to learn more about. With that, I was spent and that made day one a wrap.
On day two, I was up by 5 am – darn that 3 hour time difference! I had to put up my poster at 6:30 am anyway – so I was all ready when the time came. I walked over to the exhibit hall and what was a blank slate became my poster session about collaborative services for a student with autism – a case study.
I came back to the exhibition hall and visited distributors who are currently selling the action builder cards- dynamic resources and the speech corner. I also visited with some fellow bloggers! It was so wonderful to meet SLP TOOLKIT, SLP NOW and PANDA SPEECH in person. Later that afternoon I presented my poster. It was so fun to talk about my project with other therapists. Posters are such a great time to discuss projects you are passionate about with other professionals in a smaller group format. There were a little fewer than 2,000 poster presentations as ASHA 2017 – wow!!! I capped off the night with a wonderful talk about collaborative services with an SLP and Psychologist describing the service model that they use.
On Saturday I was feeling a bit fatigued but there was still so much to do. I talked with 3 new potential distributors for the action builder cards – hope to release this information soon! On this day I went to the SIG 16 School based issues meeting. I love contributing to this online community- so it was so nice to put faces with names from our online discussions. This was followed by sessions about language samples, coaching with students with autism and using wordless picture books to work on narrative development. I really enjoyed learning new information from presenters who were so well versed and passionate about their topics.
Along the way I made some new friends and ran into former colleagues- so fun to catch up! This wrapped up the conference for me and now I was on my way back to LAX to catch my first ever-red eye back to Ohio. I bought the obligatory neck pillow in hopes that slumber would ensue on the flight home. I would be coming back to 3 little ones under the age of 8 that would want to hear all about my big adventure. Besides sitting next to someone who was listening to music the whole 4 hours home – I did get some rest. This whole red eye thing- is great!!
So to sum it up. ASHA is an amazing conference!! Whether you are a student who is just getting his or her feet wet or a seasoned professional – there really is something for everyone. I left feeling very inspired! See ya next year ASHA!
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