Sunday, November 18, 2012

The ASHA experience

Hello everyone!

I'm happily back from my "once in a lifetime experience" (depending on the district's future budgets) in Atlanta. I thought I would take a break from playing with my sulky cats to share some of my thoughts on the event.

We stayed at the Marriott Marquis

Outside though I never really got to see it from this perspective. 
Inside looking down at the lobbies. (Yes, multiple lobbies which was confusing)
General Observations about Atlanta:
1) Almost every street in downtown seemed to have Peachtree in the name.
2) It's very easy to get lost in downtown even with a GPS and directions from the hotel.
3) There are lots of homeless people. Didn't appreciate two of them calling after us with the following "Hey, you think you're Sex in the City...." Ugh. Always walk with a group of people.
4) It's really pretty at night but rather ugly in the day.
5) It's REALLY expensive.

The Convention

I hate to say it, but I was really disappointed on the first day of the convention. The courses that I went to were more like sales pitches than useful information. Products are not the reason why I wanted to go to the convention. I want information that can help me as a practitioner, particularly as a young clinician. I wasn't the only one in the group to feel that way either. I guess next time I know to avoid the classes that aren't packed full of people. The best part of that day was going to the exhibit hall with our contract CF and grabbing lots of freebies. The majority of the things we collected were bags (I will probably never need another bag in my life) and pens. We got a thumball from one booth that I can't wait to use in therapy for adjectives and these stretchy yo-yo things that will be good for the calm down kit.

The strangest thing I saw at the exhibit hall. You can tear along the perforation to give your nose room. It's clearly geared towards the medical crowd but I thought I would share. You can see all sorts of things at the Convention. 
The second day was much better and I did feel like I learned useful information. I particularly enjoyed the course on pediatric voice disorders as that is something that I don't have much knowledge about. It is rare to run across those students in the schools but having more knowledge about strategies makes me a happier person. I also loved the Building Better Readers course with Shari Robertson. It was chalked full of awesome ideas and makes me feel better about loving books so much for all of my groups. I found a link to handouts here that are similar to what she shared at the convention.

We had the opportunity to talk to another North Carolinian at dinner on Friday. It was her 4th convention and she shared some helpful advice. Go to sessions on things you know nothing about to avoid being disappointed. I wish I had known this sooner, but it's definitely advice I plan to use in the future. My biggest piece of advice is to bring plenty of Germ-X and some cold medicine as germs are rampant (and I definitely have a sore throat now). Go to the classes that are full and avoid the ones that aren't like the plague. 

P.S. The boxed lunches at ASHA were kind of weird. I definitely would not have picked that food given a choice. In fact, I would suggest buying something else for lunch as that gives you freedom even though it might take away some of the convenience.    

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