See you at ASHA!

I’ll be presenting at the annual ASHA Convention in Boston this year. If you’re planning to attend, I hope to see you there.

If you’re interested, I will be presenting a poster and a seminar:

How Do You Say Hello? Working With Limited-English-Speaking Individuals With Neurogenic Impairment (Poster)

When: Thursday 11/15 from 4:30-6:00 PM

Patients with limited English who present with neurogenic impairments offer a unique challenge for evaluation and treatment. In this session, participants will learn to maximize effectiveness in treatment by advocating for equal language access. Discussion will include best practices for working with interpreters, the power dynamic involved, and how to think critically to ensure provision of quality, patient-centered care.

What Happened To Me?: Narratives and Self-Talk in Monolingual and Multilingual Neurogenic Populations (Seminar 1-hour)

When: Saturday 11/17 from 2:30-3:30 PM

We all tell stories about our lives, to justify our choices, make sense of our experiences, and define ourselves as individuals. Following an injury, how is this personal narrative changed? In this session, we will investigate the role of this narrative, as well as self-talk and language of thought, for monolingual, bilingual, and multilingual individuals.

Hope to see you there!

ASHA Leader: Beyond Word-for-Word Interpreting

This month, I was honored to write a cover article for the ASHA Leader. It covered one of my great passions: working with interpreters in clinical settings.

“Just say what I’m saying, word for word!” It’s common for interpreters to hear this from clinicians. But this statement can have different meanings.

The most obvious meaning would be to simply repeat, in the same language, every word spoken in precisely the same order. As applied in Spanish, for example, “I am Phil,” might be said, “Yo estoy Felipe.”

But that’s likely not what is being requested. It’s more likely that the clinician aims to have the message content conveyed effectively in the target language. For example, in Spanish, “I am Phil” might be the more conversationally appropriate “Soy Felipe.”

This article is a part of the work I've been doing the past two years, starting with my poster at ASHA Connect and the subsequent seminar at the ASHA Convention in Philadelphia in 2016.

In this month's ASHA, there's another excellent article diving into more detail about making sure your services are accessible to all. You can read that article here.

The Bug

Shortly after returning from the ASHA Connect conference, I got word that the paper I submitted for the ASHA Convention in November was accepted.

It will be a two-hour seminar and will be a more in-depth version of my poster. If you're interested in learning about working with interpreters in clinical settings, and more than that, learning how interpreters think, I'd love it if you joined me.

Between now and November, I will be working diligently on my presentation. I will also be doing a survey to gain some insight from clinicians, and will post that soon. My survey is currently in development (on its third revision so far). Like most of what I have discovered in this process, developing this presentation is an immense amount of work. The result will undoubtedly be worth it, and I'm excited to keep writing about my process here.

If you are planning on attending the ASHA Convention, don't forget that early bird registration ends soon.

Poster Tips

My recent poster presentation at the ASHA Connect Conference was not initially planned that way. The paper I submitted was for a two-hour session. I expressed a willingness to change formats, since it was my first time going through this process and I felt I could benefit from it most by keeping myself as open as possible. I'm glad I did. I wanted to write down the basics of this process for my own future reference, and thought others may find it helpful as well.

The Basics

The poster format is a unique one, and I quickly realized that I would need to go back to the drawing board to make my presentation better suited for the format.

Here's a quick tip tip for what not to do if you propose a talk but it gets selected as a poster instead:

  1. Print out the powerpoint slides you had prepared on blank copy paper.
  2. Tack them to the board and proceed to give a talk in the poster area anyway.

Posters are an underappreciated art, and though they're expensive, they're worth doing well. The format is visual and interactive, and the conversations that are generated are fantastic. You want to respect everyone's time and attention, and also present your information in an engaging and thoughtful way.


To design my poster, I posed the following question to myself: "If someone walked up to and read my poster, without me being there to describe it or talk about it in any way, would they walk away with new and useful information?"

With that in mind, I started writing. I kept my outline in hand and did all the research and wrote extensively. I covered much more ground than I had space for, so the next step was to edit. I wanted the information to be both easy to read and also make sense visually. This meant that I had to remove a lot of details and focus on the "big picture". I also wanted to include some graphics, so I turned to my trusty iPad mini. Using the Paper by 53 app, I drew some simple graphics to accompany my text. Having a digital way to hand-draw images was a great way to create more visual appeal, and helped transfer my personality onto the page. Plus, it was fun!

Finally, I did a lot of researching on how to create a poster, from the layout to the typography used. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the information you're trying to convey, and the internet is full of wonderful resources to help guide you through the process. Here are some I found useful:

One of my professors from undergrad recommended I use PowerPoint to design my poster, I did some searching online to find out how to do so. Basically, I created a new presentation and started with a single blank slide. I changed the dimensions, and then began to slowly copy the text I had written previously into individual text boxes. This allowed me to keep pertinent information in one box, and move it around as I needed to make sure I liked the layout. Becuse of the dimensions, it is necessary to work zoomed in most of the time, so make sure to zoom out (or zoom to fit the screen) periodically in order to make sure everything looks visually appropriate. I also used the grid guides to help with the formatting.

Here are some sites I found helpful with PowerPoint:


At conventions past, I have seen people who travel on planes carrying posters in special travel canisters. I happened to be traveling for work that week anyway, so I opted to wait until I was in town to have my poster printed. I opted to have my poster printed at FedEx Office, and my experience was a bit of a mixed bag. Here's a few things to keep in mind as part of the printing process:

  • The file needs to be in PDF format. This was simple enough to export from PowerPoint.
  • Be sure to check and re-check your PDF to make sure everything is there. For some reason, my PDF export had some issues being uploaded in their system, so the top part of my poster (the main title) was completely absent once it was printed.
  • Once you submit to have your poster printed, request a proof of it. This is a small part of the poster and it is printed to scale so you can make sure that the color, size, and everything else looks like you want it to.
  • Turn-around time is usually stated as "next day", so if you wait to print your poster until you arrive, be sure to plan accordingly.
  • If you would like to print your poster ahead of time and ship it to your hotel, be sure to do so well in advance. I had my poster shipped back to me after the conference. It cost around $14 (no rush after the fact) and took about a week to arrive. I can't speak from experience on this point, so check with your hotel to see if they can receive mail and hold it for you until you arrive.
  • Printing in color is expensive. Depending on the size of your poster, expect to spend around $100 to have your poster printed. I spent an extra $5 for a cardboard case to carry it in, because otherwise it was to going to be placed in a plastic bag.
  • Some universities have a discount, so if you are a student or otherwise maintain a relationship with your university, be sure to inquire.
  • I lucked out and had a coupon for 20% off print services if I completed a survey online. I did so and the extra savings was welcome. My coupon was from a previous purchase, so it never hurts to ask if you stop in there for other supplies.

I'm glad I kept myself open to a change in session format. The process of creating my poster was instructive, thought-provoking, and fun. The experience of presenting my poster was exciting and engaging, and the conversations I had with people who stopped by were really great. If you're presenting a poster at the upcoming ASHA Convention in Phildelphia, I hope these tips are useful. You can also check out ASHA's Poster Guidelines for additional support.