ASHA Convention

I have been so excited to share my experiences at the ASHA convention, but seriously, how do you combine and condense so much information and just plain fun into one blog post??  I don’t even know that I could really write this as multiple posts and do the convention justice.

It’s probably a little fitting that I waited until Thanksgiving to write this post.  I am so thankful for not only the information that I learn at ASHA, but the networking opportunities and the friends that I meet. I wrote in my last post how Twitter has completely changed my life and my convention experience.  I am so thankful for those friendships that I have made through Twitter and the ASHA convention.

My experience at ASHA is hard to sum up but I will try…..

The sessions:   I did attend the Meet the Masters Symposium again this year.  It was very interesting about taste and the sensory aspect of swallowing.  Some of my take-home messages from this are:  penetration in the supraglottic region should elicit a swallow, not a cough; we should use taste and sensation to stimulate the cranial nerves to elicit a motoric response for the swallow.

I was able to attend Kate Krival’s session on Neural Anticipation and Swallowing-Anticipation includes smell of food or need for intake with connections to the brainstem to activate the nuclei of VII and IX; Anticipation includes discharge of saliva; When emotion becomes memory, the amygdala becomes active; Anticipation can stimulate the amygdala and hippocampus before the event occurs; Anticipation is critical to motor response; We need to think about sensorimotor processes, affective readiness to swallow and digest and digestion.  Intraoral contributions: taste, texture, weight, temperature and interaction of the bolus.  Gustation: astringent, tart, water, metallic, starchy.  Taste is primarily received from the tongue, mostly CN VII and IX.

I went to the Effortful Pitch Glide session and wish that I could say I took anything away from that session, but I really didn’t.  It was a brief overview of their research on EPG, which is really not enough evidence to support its use, and a long overview of current dysphagia treatment techniques.

Radiation Safety course take home:  exposing patients or yourself to radiation increases the risks of cancer; 1 chest CT =100 chest x-rays; the thyroid is one of the most radiation-sensitive parts of the body; Huge uncertainties in the numbers of radiation exposure.  Don’t set radiation so low it interferes with the accuracy of your exam.  Use 30 FPS to avoid missing intricate parts of the swallow.

The Oral Care for CNA’s session was wonderful, of course, it was partially presented by Nancy Swigert, one of my FAVORITE swallowologists!!!!  Take home from that session:   Aspiration pneumonia risk increased from dependance of oral care; 38% of people that are non-institutionalized receive no oral care; Nurses rate oral care as low priority; When nursing assistants acknowledge importance of oral care, they still don’t completely use it; Patients may be hampered by lack of access to oral care supplies; Nancy Swigert recommends oral care prior to every patient session; Develop an oral care kit and brochure for the patients; Important to educate family and patient on oral care;   Create nursing or CNA oral care champions to track oral care.

The final presentation I attended:  The Dysphagia Toolbox.  The take home on this:  There is a free website with standardized dysphagia outcomes and assessments available at Dysphagia Toolbox.

The Exhibit Hall:  All I can say is, this was my third ASHA convention and WOW.  The exhibit hall never ceases to amaze me.  I met many #SLPeeps companies including @esailers @lessonpix and the creators of Speech with Milo.  I met the Dysphagia Divas, the PurA peeps and a company that creates a box of supplies for FEES/bedside evaluations.  I would love to be able to offer critiques of samples of many companies.

I also had the opportunity to work at the SmartyEars booth again this year.  I love it!!  I was able to demonstrate my app Dysphagia2Go to many people.  The only bad part…….the booth was so far away from the heart of the crowd!  We still did very well.

The Socialization:  Let’s face it, we’re into speech for a reason!  We love to use it!!  I think if we did a study of why people attend the ASHA convention, many people would say it is for the socialization.  From dinners, to Starbucks lines, to an ASHA Flashmob and the annual TweetUp there were many formal and informal socialization opportunities.  Many times, throughout the hallways, I would find #SLPeeps stopping me to talk.  Every night, we had our hotel lounge times where we just acted plain goofy!!

You can find a copy of the ASHA12 Flash Mob at YouTube.

Last, but most certainly not least, was my long awaited BRS-S events.  It was beyond amazing to meet the wonderful BRS-S people that not only made me feel more than welcome, but those that provide me with such wonderful reading materials!!  It was amazing running into these amazing dysphagia peeps and having them recognize and remember me!!!  Thank you so much to those BRS-S people that made the event amazing for me!!

I also had the opportunity, thank you to Cindy Barnett and ProCourse CEUs to meet Michael Crary and Giselle Carnaby.  What wonderfully nice people!!!  I look forward to seeing them again in January at the MDTP course in Florida.

There are so many cool things about ASHA12 that I’ll never forget.  There are so many times that I laughed so hard it hurt!  It was absolutely wonderful being with people that have the same passion as me and that I feel comfortable enough to laugh with and joke with, making the ASHA convention not only a time I will never forget, but a time that I will look forward to for years to come!!!

On this day of being thankful, I would like to send a big thank you to all my new and old friends, the friends I’ll never forget and can’t wait to see again.  Thank you Heather, for being my travel buddy and to Aubrey for being a great roommate, even if you can’t have anything nice!!!  If I met you at ASHA12, thank you for making it such a great experience!!

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