Log in

ISHA Newsletter

This is the official ISHA newsletter. Members may read and comment.

To receive posts by email please enter your email address:    

  • 26 Mar 2013 4:39 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)

    Photo Credit:  Poster session by woodleywonderwords 

    Poster Presentations * ISHA Convention 2013

    Come support our students!  Thirteen poster presentations will be displayed on Friday, April 5 from 2:30 to 3:00 pm and again from 4:30 to 5:00 pm in the Atrium area.  These presentations will also be part of the University Night event with ASHA President-Elect Liz McCrea on Friday evening from 7 to 9 pm in Freedom Hall. 

    Below is the abstract of one of our presenters: 

    Efficacy of integrative intervention method: A single-subject design

    by Steven Elmlinger


    Abstract: The phonological skill of a child allows for them to access and manipulate a sound structure; a skill necessary for decoding text. The utilization of phonological awareness intervention methods with children over 5 years old is limited in the speech pathology research literature. In addition, incorporating nonlinguistic factors of attention and working memory with phonological awareness tasks with young children has not been investigated. A multi-baseline single subject design was used to monitor the developmental progress of literacy and phonological awareness skills of a nine-year-old child diagnosed with dyslexia and articulation disorder using pre/post assessments and weekly probes of dictation.

    Please attend the ISHA convention in Indianapolis on April 5th to see the results obtained from the implementation of my intervention tasks and probes.

  • 26 Mar 2013 11:26 AM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)



    You can register on-site


    NURTURING DAY - Bring a donation for Gleaner’s Food Bank

       8 am

    Business Meeting

       9:30 am  - Keynote

    Mark Madsen – Dream Impossible Dreams

       11:00 am - IN Spotlight:
       Research  to Practice

    Krishnan/VanHyfte – Effects of Policy Changes on Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Follow-up

       1:30 pm

    Audiology Student Forum Presentations

       3:30 pm

    Vidya Krull – Speech Understanding Difficulties in the Elderly


    CULTIVATING UNIVERSITY DAY – Bring an item for a Student or Young Professional ~ AND ~ Show  your School Spirit - WEAR YOUR COLORS!

       8:30 am

    Dawn Konrad-Martin – Optimizing DPOAE’s for Serial Monitoring:  From Nitty-Gritty Solutions to Source Separation

       10:30 am

    Mary Cavacco & Susan Lopez – Changing Lives with Hearing Loops

       12:30 pm

    Awards, Lunch & Learn --$25 extra fee

    – Kristen Finch “Married to your Work”

       2:30 – 3:30 pm

    Student Poster Presentations

       3 pm

    George Hicks, MD – Management of Ear, Hearing and Balance Disorders:  Fact, Fiction, Future

       7-9 pm

    University Night – Liz McCrea, ASHA President-Elect


       8 am & 10 am

    Kim Cavitt, AuD – Solutions for Most Common and Problematic Coding and Reimbursement Issues


    Hope to see you there!

  • 25 Mar 2013 2:36 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)


    Sean Sweeney, aka Mr. SpeechTechie

    ISHA is proud to offer 4 sessions by Sean at this spring’s Annual Convention. Check out his website and blog at

    Friday, April 5 at 3 p.m.

    Looking through a Language Lens: Interventions Integrating Websites and Apps

    Friday, April 5 at 5 p.m.

    “Best of” Apps for Speech-Language Therapy

    Saturday, April 6 at 8 a.m.

    Tell Me a Story: Targeting Narrative/Expository Language, Social Learning and Speech-Language Objectives through Technology

    Saturday, April 6 at 10 a.m.

    “Outside the Box” iPad for SLP’s “Re-Purposing” Apps for Therapy

  • 20 Mar 2013 1:32 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)


    Happy Spring to all our members!  I have quickly learned that ISHA is busy year round and no one involved has been hibernating during the winter.  Please take the time to read information for the various areas addressed by the different committees and groups in the newsletter.

    Preparations are being finalized for convention in just a few weeks.  There are some old and new events occurring as well as a program meant to meet the needs of members in all professional settings.  As we continue updating ISHA, we are going to have an APP for the convention that will include updates on the program, handouts, and other information of interest to our members.  If the membership finds this worthwhile, we will consider how we can continue to utilize it throughout the year.  Registering on-line is a quick and easy way to be a part of this year’s experience.  And after convention, give us feedback so we can address concerns and improve in years to come.

    We are accepting nominations for Honors for ISHA through the end of today. Consider if there is someone or an organization you feel we should recognize for contributions to ISHA or to speech/language/hearing in general.

    We are also still working to complete the slate of officers for this year’s election.  The positions to be filled are the Vice President Positions for: Speech, Audiology, Marketing, Professional Development, and Communications and Publications.  We also need to fill the Nominations Committee.  If you or someone you know would be willing to be considered for one of these offices, please contact me.  And if you would like more information concerning responsibilities for these offices, contact me. My email is on the website.

    I want to give special thanks on behalf of the membership for those who have given so much of their time for the organization.  It is a task just to keep up through email communications with all that is being addressed in preparing for convention, working on legislation, keeping us up-to-date with our communications, licensing concerns and just helping to keep us informed with what is happening concerning our professions on a state, local and national level.  Consider volunteering to be a part of this in the future.  Just let Central Office know where your interests lie. 

    Hope to see many of you at convention.  And please, come talk to me and other members of the Executive Council with your ideas, concerns, likes and dislikes.  We can only make ISHA serve you if we know your needs and concerns.

    Ruth Ann Morrell

    A Note from President-Elect
    Rachel Ross-Kroemer

    I represent ISHA on the Indiana IEP and the Effective Evaluation Resource Centers’ Advisory Boards (IIEPRC and EERC).  I attended their annual meetings on 3/7/13.  Please visit their websites!!  They have excellent resources! 

    Some information you may find helpful on the IIEPRC’s website  writing measurable goals, progress monitoring, LRE resources, effective IEP processes, inclusive practices, continuing education opportunities, and so much more!!  Be sure to access the January 2013 document titled, Statewide Assessment Resource Guide and Toolkit: Participation Decisions and Use of Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.  There are “Accommodations to Consider for Instruction” and “Accommodations to Consider for Assessments” in the communication areas of Articulation, Fluency, Voice, and Language (in addition to other eligibility areas).

    Information/topics you may find helpful on the EERC’s website: continuing education opportunities (that overlap with the IIEPRC), Evaluation Process FAQ, resources for parents, preschool assessment and intervention, assessment of English Language Learners, educational evaluation reports, evaluation practices, examples of district procedure documents (e.g., evaluation procedures, move-in procedures, referral procedures, etc.), and RTI Data team book (to name just a few).  There are also resources titled: “FOR ILLUSTRATION AND DEMOSTRATION ONLY / FIDO” -- SLD Eligibility Evidence, Criteria, and Data Sources and SLD Certification forms.  These were developed to support local/district level decisions for eligibility in the area of SLD.  There was discussion at the Advisory Board meeting to develop FIDO forms in the eligibility area of LSI (as well as some other eligibility areas).  I will be sure to pass along information about this resource once it’s developed.

    If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at:

    Rachel Ross-Kroemer, M.A., CCC-SLP

    News Update from the SMAC and STAR Networks
    A Note from ISHA representative
    Susan Rockafellow

    ISHA applied for a grant from ASHA and was awarded a $4400 personnel grant for its legislative advocacy initiatives for speech language pathology and audiology.  This grant was funded under ASHA’s Strategic Pathway to Excellence. 

    SMAC stands for ASHA’s State Medicare Administrative Contractor Network. It was developed to enhance advocacy, leadership and communication of ASHA members at the State level to influence administrative and public policy decisions impacting Medicare coverage and reimbursement. SMAC can work directly with the MAC’s (Medicare Administrative Contractors), Medicare regional office officials, state health agencies and consumer groups.

    If you or your agency has questions or concerns regarding compliance with local and national Medicare coverage and/or payment policies, you can contact our Indiana SMAC. With continual implementation and changes with the Therapy Cap or with the new Functional Reporting Implementation in 2013 this network can provide guidance and assistance.

    STAR stands for ASHA’s State Advocates for Reimbursement Network. STARS advocate in their states for improved health care coverage and reasonable reimbursement. They target decision-makers in private and public agencies and the state legislature.

    Both networks meet monthly with other STAR and SMAC members from all around the country to effect positive changes in private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    For any reimbursement, policy or advocacy concerns and/ or to volunteer to assist in these areas, please contact our ISHA STAR and SMAC representative Susan Rockafellow @  or @ 317-468-4664.

    Professional Development Team
    Dee Combs

    Hopefully you are already pre-registered for the ISHA SPRING CONVENTION, 
    April 4-6, 2013 at Marriott East Indy 

     – Nurturing Strong Roots/Cultivating New Growth -   

    The brochure can be found on

    Fantastic speakers for this year include:  Mark Madsen, Sean Sweeney “Mr. Speechtechie”, Nancy Swigert, Kim Cavitt, Joe Stemple, Kara O’Dell, Patricia Zebrowski and many more!

    New this year TWILIGHT SESSIONS on Thursday, April 4 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

    University Night on Friday, April 5 from 7 to 9 p.m.  Featuring special guest LIZ McCREA, ASHA Pres.-Elect.

    This team is also currently working on our 7th Annual Fall Conference. 

    Look for more information in the future!

    Speech Pathology Team 
    Jeanne McMillan

    The Speech Pathology Team has been working extensively with Mark Scherer, ISHA Lobbyist, to meet and respond to these issues requiring many hours of committee communication and meetings at the state house.

                  HB 1051 – Music Therapy bill, setting scope of practice for Music Therapists

                  HB 1152 – OT Scope of Practice, ISHA is very involved in defending the SLP as the most prepared to service patients with dysphagia based on training and there is a taskforce working directly on this issue.  Janet Deppe, our ASHA liason is collaborating on this issue in addition to the support from our lobbyist, Mark Scherer.

                  SB 554 – Telehealth and Telemedicine, requires Medicare to reimburse for these services

                  SB 520 – ERASER – Eliminate Reduce and Streamline Employee Regulation – initially called for each profession to be reviewed every 5 years and licensure eliminated or consolidated, ISHA monitoring this bill

    As always, if you would like to volunteer to serve on any of the sub-committees of the Speech Language Pathology team, please email

    Audiology Team 
    Heidi Neuburger

    ISHA currently monitoring national discussion of online hearing aid servicesand an ISHA position statement is in the works defending the service for consumers.  In addition, this team is monitoring funding decisions for the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. 

    Marketing Team
    Susan Latham

    ISHA college visits have started.  Each university NSSHLA group in Indiana will meet with an ISHA representative and discuss what ISHA can do for the profession and the importance of membership.  

    This committee has been working on a new Mentoring Program, which will be launched at the spring convention. 

    College students are paired with ISHA members who provide guidance, feedback, and support for career development in the professions in a meaningful one-to-one relationship.

    We are also working on developing a survey for speech-language pathologists and audiologists regarding recruitment and retention of ISHA members.  Surveys will be distributed toward the end of summer.

    Communications & Publications
    Jennifer Freeman


    This committee wants to formally thank Central Office for their support with launching the ISHA Blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account.  We are glad to report that several new sets of willing hands are working on the projects of this committee.  We plan to record a few podcasts at this spring’s ISHA convention as a trial run to possibly offering electronic professional development in the future. All members are encouraged to subscribe to the ISHA blog on our homepage.  This will be the primary way that ISHA will share news in the near future. 

    Also new this year, ISHA logo items will be offered for sale soon via the website and at convention. Our goal is to increase the visibility of ISHA members in the workplace.  

    --Fleece vests, ¾ sleeve oxfords, t-shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs, lapel pins and more-- 

    Check out our display at convention.  We will also have a computer available to help members subscribe to the blog. 

  • 15 Mar 2013 12:24 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)

    Back by popular demand!

    In the spotlight:

    Kara Kozub O’Dell, MA, CCC-SLP, BIS

    Allied Health Manager,
    Neuro-Recovery Unit,

    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

    Abstract: Deficits in cognition result in decreased efficiency and effectiveness of communication. Cognitive communication deficits can have a significant impact on participation in society, but may go unassessed and untreated. Research evidence illustrates improvement of deficits and participation in society following speech language services when certain instructional techniques are employed. This presentation will review current assessment and intervention techniques for individuals with cognitive communication deficits following acquired brain injuries. Specifically, awareness, attention, memory and executive functions will be discussed, with a focus on assessment and instructional strategies to manage these deficits and improve participation in society.


    Kara O’Dell is speaking at the 2013 ISHA convention

    On Thursday, April 4 from 1:30-3 and 3:30-5 p.m.


    Nurturing Strong Roots and Cultivating New Growth

    April 4 -6, 2013 ~ Indy Marriott East

  • 15 Mar 2013 12:20 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)

    Nurturing Strong Roots and Cultivating New Growth

    April 4 -6, 2013 ~ Indy Marriott East

    In the spotlight: Mark Madsen

    In 2001 Mark Madsen suddenly became a quadriplegic after hitting a deer while driving at night on an interstate highway. At that time he was a professional singer, and Director of Vocal Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Mark’s story of grit and determination after his paralysis and losing his speaking and singing voice is informative and inspiring when one hears ways he re-created his life, to be positive, productive, and creative. Don’t let what you’re being get in the way of what you might become. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Imagine no boundaries.

    Dream Impossible Dreams!

    Mark Madsen is the keynote speaker at the 2013 Convention.

    He is also presenting at a twilight session on
    Thursday, April 4 at 7 p.m.


  • 04 Mar 2013 3:55 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)


    Wednesday, April 3rd, 11:00am – 4:30 pm (EST)


    Course Description

    This will be a networking opportunity and discussion session regarding critical issues concerning DYSPHAGIA management in our state.  During the current legislative session, there have been numerous hearings and testimony provided regarding scope of practice and who is best qualified to treat the citizens of Indiana with dysphagia.  Occupational Therapists are seeking to specify that the evaluation and treatment of dysphagia, including instrumental assessments, is within their scope of practice. They also propose that their current level of training is equivalent to SLPs. SLPs are working to show that their level of training is more advanced and that they should be the preferred provider of services in this area.   The stakes are high and the discussion is important. While this impacts all of us who serve individuals with dysphagia, the potential impact to those providing services in SNFs and First Steps is worrisome. Come and find out the latest and learn how you can become involved.


    In addition, hot topics in the field will be discussed along with new products (with samples) in Dysphagia management.   As a bonus, Barbara Solomon will update us on new trends in voice therapy including recommended apps!


    Download the Brochure - Click Here!

  • 04 Feb 2013 1:11 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)


    On Wednesday, January 30, the House Public Health Committee heard House Bill 1152. This bill would expand the scope of practice of Occupational Therapists to include assessment and management of swallowing without any requirement that OTs have equivalent education and training to SLPs. While ISHA does not oppose appropriately trained individuals performing any type of procedure, ISHA believes strongly that patient safety will be compromised by elevating assessment and management of swallowing by OTs to the same level as that of SLPs without a requirement for equivalent education and training.


    It was obvious that many of you whose state representative sits on the committee contacted your representative to express your opposition to the bill. THANK YOU! It made a difference as the committee chair did not take action on the bill and further discussions are occurring between ISHA and IOTA.


    If your state representative sits on the House Public Health Committee (members listed below) and you have not yet contacted them yet, we still urge you to contact your state representative to oppose HB 1152.


    You can contact your state representative by either of the following ways:

    • You can email your state representative using the email address below.
    • You can telephone your state representative at the State House using the telephone number below.

    House Public Health Committee

    Rep. Ed Clere                           317-232-9648  

    Rep. Steve Davisson               317-232-9509   

    Rep. Ron Bacon                       317-232-9674 

    Rep. Suzanne Crouch              317-232-9674  

    Rep. Bob Behning                    317-232-9981   

    Rep. David Frizzell                   317-232-9981 

    Rep. Don Lehe                          317-234-2993 

    Rep. Eric Turner                        317-232-9815 

    Rep. Dennis Zent                      317-232-9833 

    Rep. Charlie Brown                  317-232-9798 

    Rep. Pat Bauer                         317-232-9991 

    Rep. Greg Porter                      317-232-9875 

    Rep. Robin Shackleford          317-234-9294 


    A copy of HB 1152 can be viewed by using the following link:



    House Bill 1051 would require any individual who practices music therapy in Indiana to be credentialed by the Certification Board for Music Therapy, a private organization whose national office is located in Pennsylvania. The bill passed the House on January 29 by a vote of 80-14 and now goes to the Senate.


    The original bill contained no exemption for any other profession that uses music therapy such as SLP, so ISHA was successful in asking the author to amend the bill to exempt any licensed professional who uses music therapy in their work.


    The bill’s regulatory scheme is unique to Indiana because, if the bill passes, it will be the first time that Indiana has turned over the total regulation of a profession to a private entity and there will be no way for Indiana to discipline a credentialed individual if that would be necessary.

  • 29 Jan 2013 5:08 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)

    IMPORTANT - In. lawmakers advance music therapist bill

    ISHA is closely monitoring a bill introduced into legislation this month that would certify Indiana therapists who specialize in using music to treat people with Autism, Alzheimer's and other conditions.  The music therapy bill cleared the Indiana House's Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee last week with unanimous support. If it clears the full House, the Senate would need to approve it.  The bill, which was sponsored by state Rep. Suzanne Crouch, R-Evansville, would create a new state board to certify music therapists in Indiana.  ISHA will continue to keep you updated on the bill’s progress.  Review the bill here–HB1051.  More input is also available on this blog.

    If you would like to provide input on this issue, please comment on the ISHA Forum.

  • 24 Jan 2013 12:41 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)


    It's official! I finally did it and am so extremely happy and excited!!


    I finally, not only had my application accepted by the BRS-S (Board Recognized Specialty in Swallowing) and passed the exam. I can officially put the title BRS-S after my credentials!


    I wish that I could say that it was an easy process, but it really wasn't. I will say though that I have learned so much along the way and have met so many new and wonderful process through this amazing journey.


    The main reason for writing this post is to, hopefully encourage others to do the same. This was something to me that several years ago seemed completely unreachable. I mean really, I'll never compare to the Jeri Logemann's of the world!


    Many people have asked me about applying for and taking the exam for the BRS-S.  Here is post about my experience.


    I had went to many conferences and saw speakers with BRS-S after their names. I went to the website,, and started looking into what it would take to become BRS-S.  WOW! Not only do you have to prove that you have gone over and beyond in the area of swallowing and dysphagia, but you have to have 75 CEU's in dysphagia,

    3 years experience post graduation and letters of recommendation.


    The BRS-S does offer the opportunity to utilize a mentor during the entire process. I decided that it wouldn't hurt to look into a mentor to even see if this is something possible for me. I actually did, 2 years ago, I applied for a mentor. I ended up with Nancy Swigert, who I truly can never thank enough for not only giving me the courage and the confidence to believe that I could do this, but also endlessly reviewed and helped my revise my very very very long application.

    If you are looking into applying for BRS-S, the website has the following listed as requirements:


    Requirements for All Applicants


    1. ASHA Certification.

    All applicants must currently hold the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC/SLP).


    2. Continuing Education.

    All applicants must document receipt of at least 7.5 CEUs that relate to dysphagia within the last 3 years. A minimum of 4.5 of the CEUs need to be ASHA sponsored courses and up to 3.0 of the CEUs may be non- ASHA sponsored continuing education activities.


    Individuals attending workshops which do not give ASHA CEUs may apply for independent study through ASHA to receive ASHA CEUs. Please provide evidence of attendance at other educational activities in closely related fields. Detailed descriptions of all non-ASHA sponsored CEU activities is required. Continuing education activities may include Workshops, meetings or courses in swallowing and swallowing disorders, video and audio courses, telemedicine, and other electronic media) Independent study (e.g., course development, research projects, publications, internships) Self-study (e.g., videotapes, audiotapes, journals). Continuing education courses must be directly related to dysphagia. If the title of the course is unclear (as it relates to dysphagia), an applicant should submit a program or brochure to provide substantiation for its inclusion.


    When applying CEUs from the ASHA National convention or other multi-offering events, applicants must list specific course/workshop

    titles and corresponding CEUs in the application table. CEUs will be applied for only those courses/workshop relative to dysphagia.

    College Courses. If an applicant has completed a college level course in dysphagia, accrued credits can be applied to continuing education requirements. Graduate university coursework must be accompanied by

    a syllabus or transcript. One college credit is equivalent to 1 CEU (as it relates to application for BRS-S). The applicant must submit a transcript or other document verifying completion of those credits.


    Instructor or Invited Lecturer. If an applicant teaches a dysphagia course at an approved university/college or provides dysphagia-related lectures at a conference which provides ASHA CEUs, a maximum of 3.5 CEUs may be applied to the 7.5 CEU requirement for BRS-S. One college credit is equivalent to 1 CEU. Each course may only be applied only one time within an application (even though the same course/conference may be taught several times during an academic year or in consecutive years). The applicant must submit appropriate evidence and documentation of the lectures that were related to dysphagia.


    3. Post-Certification Clinical Experience.

    All applicants must have completed a minimum of 3 years post certification (CCC/SLP) clinical work that has a focus in dysphagia.

    BRS-S has established two tracks to meet the diversity of clinical service environments for professionals at all levels of advancement within the profession:Clinical Track and Academic/Administrative Track. The Clinical Track looks to identify professionals who demonstrate strong advanced clinical skills through direct provision of services to patients/ clients. The Academic/Administrative Track looks to identify

    researchers, instructors and administrators who have advanced in different employment environments. These individuals maintain clinical skills through ongoing patient/client contact, while promoting improved patient care through research and teaching/training of clinicians within this specialized area of practice.


    a. Clinical Track: a minimum of 350 clock hours of evaluation and/or treatment of swallowing disorders completed within a year for each of 3 years prior to applying for BRS-S. Supervision of speech-language pathology staff members and students providing evaluation and treatment to infants, children or adults with feeding and swallowing disorders can account for 100 of the required 350 hours/year. Supervisors must submit a statement affirming that all of the 100 hours of supervision were for dysphagia cases. The balance of the hours must be obtained from direct face-to-face clinical service to patients.


    b. Academic/Administrative Track: a minimum of 100 clock hours of clinical evaluation and/or treatment of persons with swallowing disorders completed within a year for each of 3 years prior to applying for BRS-S. These hours must all be direct patient contact hours.


    In place of the higher number of clock hours required of those in the Clinical track, applicants in the Academic/Administrative tract shall hold either:


    a. an academic position in a degree-granting institution with a combination of teaching, and research, and academic advising with a focus on swallowing and swallowing disorders. Evidence of student advising, teaching, and research must be included in the narrative section of this application. Evidence of teaching should include a syllabus of the dysphagia course taught. Research must include clinical research in normal or disordered swallowing with direct contact with human subjects as part of the methodology.




    b. an official administrative or supervisory position in a setting that provides clinical services to persons with swallowing disorders. Responsibilities will include training and supervision of clinical staff, program development, and leadership in the institution directly related to swallowing and swallowing disorders. Multiple examples and evidence

    of these areas of leadership must be included in the narrative section of the application (e.g. policy/protocol development regarding swallowing program, development and implementation of dysphagia quality improvement program).


    4. Advanced Skill Documentation

    Through the documentation of advanced level skills in swallowing and swallowing disorders, candidates must demonstrate that they have applied the highest level of ethical standards in their practice (i.e. service delivery and in the conduct of scholarship, research, and training). The expectation is that applicants can demonstrate "advanced" clinical and professional skills over the past 3 years. In other words, the applicant has achieved the highest standard of excellence, displays professionalism, is committed to continuous advanced learning, and displays characteristics that reflect achievements that go above and beyond expectations. Applicants may indicate a clinical preference or advanced level of experience in either pediatrics or adults but this is optional as applicants will have knowledge of swallowing and its disorders regardless of age.


    There are distinctly different requirements for each track.


    a. Applicants in the Clinical Track must evidence advanced skills either by satisfying at a minimum: two activity types within one category or

    one activity in two different category types. In other words, the applicant can choose to provide documentation in just one of 3 advanced areas.


    b. Applicants in the Academic/Administrative Track must evidence advanced skills in at least two different category types.


    Examples of activities fulfilling qualification criteria

    The following are examples of activity types within the 3 categorized advanced areas:



    Served on various interdisciplinary committees at place of employment. Chaired a committee within your organization. Describe the scope of the project and your leadership role. Held leadership positions in ASHA or other professional organizations whose mission includes a focus on swallowing and swallowing disorders (Chair of committee, officer, etc). Give specifics. Participated in development of ASHA or state association position papers or guidelines on swallowing and swallowing disorders. Give specifics. Attach document if complete. - Served on major committees of regional, state, or national organizations dealing with swallowing and swallowing disorders. Describe the work of the committee. Serves in official supervisory position(s) at hospital, rehabilitation, education, or university programs in swallowing and swallowing disorders with responsibilities for training and supervision of staff clinicians providing dysphagia services. This could be supervisor, director, lead clinician, etc. Describe these services. Developed a formal swallowing program within the institution with involvement of multiple disciplines. Responsible for ongoing monitoring and quality improvement program within the institution for swallowing program. Describe the program in detail and include protocol. Developed a new function/role of the dysphagia program at the institution (e.g. added an instrumental format; oral care program).



    Presented a paper or poster at the state association, perhaps in partnership with another speech-language pathologist. This might be a report on a quality improvement initiative, description of specialized dysphagia program you offer, etc. Served as supervisor for multiple clinicians/students in swallowing and swallowing disorders over last 3+ years. Details regarding number of clinicians supervised and level of supervision/training provided must be included. Started or regularly participated in journal group and made evidence- based presentations to the group. Developed content and taught related professionals within your facility about swallowing and swallowing disorders(e.g. Grand Rounds, nursing orientation) Taught a community based group (e.g. normal elderly on effects of aging; disease-specific support groups) Provided guest lectures in graduate course at local university. Taught graduate course on swallowing and swallowing disorders in ASHA CAA accredited university program in the past 3 years. The course syllabus should be attached. Educational presentations at major regional, state, national, or international conferences and/or post graduate workshops on swallowing and/or swallowing disorders. These lectures must have been presented to an audience that extended beyond the applicant's institution. Title of presentation, date, participant objectives, and audience should be delineated.

    Developed facility-specific patient or staff educational materials. Attach copy of the materials. Developed and published clinical educational programs and/or materials on swallowing and swallowing disorders that are disseminated outside of the institution/program in which the applicant works. The product can be in the form of electronic media or hard copy. Copy of the program or material should be attached. Serve as primary advisor to a masters or doctoral student to guide their research for a thesis or dissertation



    Published at least one peer-reviewed research article with the applicant as primary or secondary author of this article. Attach the article. Published a chapter directly related to normal swallowing or swallowing disorders in a peer reviewed textbook. Give specific reference or attach chapter. Presented a peer reviewed research paper or poster at a scientific meeting. Actively participated in research activities in normal swallowing and/or swallowing disorders involving some form of direct patient contact such as conducting a survey or applying research methods under study (diagnostic tools or treatments). State the specific research questions of the project, the results, and publications or presentations emanating from it - or if still underway, state the progress to date, the anticipated completion of the project, and plans for publication.


    Supporting Materials for Application


    Reference Letters

    An applicant must submit a minimum of three or more reference letters for consideration. Additional letters in support of the applicant can also be included if there is a need to describe specific activities or accomplishments. The letters of reference should attest to the applicant's character, accomplishments, expertise, and value to their program. The authors should be familiar with the applicants' current or recent professional experience (as opposed to previous professional relationships). Applicants should carefully choose referents who can attest to those qualities. Reference letters must be currently dated and written specifically for purposes of the BRS-S application. General recommendation letters or letters with previous dates will not be accepted. Appropriate referents may include physicians, administrative managers/directors, coworkers, program directors or coordinators, instructors or professors, etc. One of the letters must attest to the applicant's attainment of a minimum of 350 clinical hours/year (clinical track) or 100 clinical hours/year (research/teaching track) in dysphagia related clinical service.


    Biographical Summary

    The biographical summary should provide, in 200 words, a statement of both qualifications and interest in and rationale for obtaining BRS-S. Yes, Yikes!!! I knew I had the ASHA credentials, I actually did have the continuing ed requirements, the hours of experience (thank you to all my SNF experience and the hospital). My area that I was lacking was my advanced experiences. Nancy gave me some wonderful ideas such as presenting poster presentations at my state convention, at ASHA, presenting within the community. I also added things like my Facebook groups, my Twitter experiences, online journal club. I live and work in a very rural area (25 bed hospital), so some of these advanced skills took some creativity. I also was very fortunate in that at the time I started my application process, I had the opportunity to supervise 2 CF's and a student. Everything just seemed to come together at the perfect time!


    I did end up doing a poster session at my state convention in 2011, then a poster presentation that same year at ASHA. I had the Facebook groups, CF supervision and several experiences with education of nursing staff etc. I felt that I was ready at that point. After sending in four copies of my very lengthy application, submitting my payment for application and several long weeks of waiting, I received a letter in the mail. I wasn't accepted at that point.


    The nicest part of the rejection letter, was that the board didn't just tell me it wasn't good enough at that point. They highlighted my areas of weakness and strength with suggestions for improving those weak areas and improving them for future application.


    I'll admit, that I spend a couple of days feeling sorry for myself. I cried a little. After encouragement and support from Nancy, my family and several friends, I decided to get back on it.


    After another year of presenting to the community, speaking to a nursing class, reworking my application and basically doing all the things that were suggested by the board, i resubmitted my application. 4 more copies, $75 more, MANY revisions of the application, 4 letters of recommendation and letters from former patients. After an agonizing 8 weeks, I was sitting on the couch one evening, checking my email. I had an email from the BRS-S. MY APPLICATION WAS ACCEPTED!!! I had to email and text everybody I knew!! It was like an absolute dream!


    Then came the scary part. I had to pass the exam. What is on the exam?? That is what every person that has not taken the exam would like to know!!! There is a study guide that is submitted with your acceptance email, however, basically, you need to know a little bit of everything about swallowing and dysphagia. I have spent about the last month and a half studying everything I could get my hands on regarding swallowing and dysphagia, pediatrics, Dr. Logemann's book, journal articles, everything!


    I signed up to take my exam on Oct 2. I was a nervous wreck. I couldn't eat and was just anxious. The time came to take the exam. I signed in (you have 2 hours to take the 110 question exam). I do remember several times thinking, why didn't I study that more or what in the heck is that??


    I actually finished the exam in less than an hour, thinking I would review my answers. I then decided that if I went back over my answers, I would change them and do worse.


    I very quickly decided to then click on submit, which I did and waited. My score appeared within seconds, 92%!!!!! I needed an 80% to pass. I could barely believe that I passed!!! I actually obtained Board Recognized Specialty in Swallowing!!


    I do believe that anyone who wants to achieve this great honor, should! It is a tough process, it is very taxing, but it is so very rewarding in the end. It is an amazing feeling to know that you have done something that very few people have accomplished at this point.


    It is so important in the time of changing health care and the need to "prove" our services, that we have something that we can "prove" the worth of our services and that we are the ones that specialize in the area of swallowing!



    Tiffani Wallace has been an SLP specializing in Dysphagia for over 11 years. Tiffani has been very active in the social media world, creating 2 Facebook groups, Dysphagia Therapy Group and Dysphagia Therapy Group-Professional Edition. Tiffani is also the co-author of the app Dysphagia2Go, available on iTunes. She is traveling nationally speaking on the topic of Dysphagia. Tiffani writes a blog called Dysphagia Ramblings, found at and is the author of She is a 5 time ACE awardee and recently obtained her BRS-S.


    Check out Tiffani's recent ASHAsphere blog posting:

To support and empower members to provide the highest quality, life changing communication, swallowing and hearing services to the people of the State of Indiana.

ISHA Central Office, 2346 S. Lynhurst Drive, Suite D101, Indianapolis, IN 46241; Phone: 317-916-4146; Fax: 317-481-1825
Copyright © 2004 - 2020 ISHA. All rights reserved

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software