Intersections is the quarterly e-newsletter distributed to ASHA Approved Continuing Education Providers to connect and exchange ideas in order to better accomplish their continuing education activities.
In this issue:
After 36 years as CE Administrator for APRICOT, Inc., we’re sad to see Dr. Ellyn Arwood stepping down from the role this spring. Jo Ann Linseisen, Director of ASHA Continuing Education, had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Arwood virtually to reflect on her career so far, the evolution of the education she’s offered to her colleagues, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that she’s encountered, and her experience as a lifelong learner and CE Administrator.
Even before her career began, Dr. Arwood had already developed a reputation for asking questions and digging deeper to find techniques that would best help those she served, whether they were her own patients or those of her colleagues. She recalled, “As an undergraduate, to get into clinic as an SLP I had to take a student that nobody else wanted because I was ahead of the schedule to be in practicum...I realized the responsibility that went with that, so I just read and read and read and read and read. And I finally end up with this reputation of, ‘Well, if you don’t know what to do, ask Ellyn.’” Once she finished her master’s degree, Dr. Arwood would consult with friends and colleagues about their clients. She said, “Each of those interactions became a kind of case study.” It wasn’t long before colleagues started asking her to share her research and present her conclusions to groups of people through continuing education courses. In 1983, Dr. Arwood founded APRICOT, Inc. “We set up APRICOT to help support families and individuals with learning language behavior problems. Then I became a Provider through APRICOT...providing the CEUs was just part of that process.”
Speaking as an Educator
Dr. Arwood’s courses through APRICOT, Inc., have evolved over time but are still built on the foundation that she established in 1984. She discussed what her workshops were about before the 1990s: “In ’84, I was doing a lot of courses on pragmaticism...a term by Charles [Sanders] Peirce...His notion was that the whole is greater than the parts.” She thought, “You’ve got one person here, and [yet] we’re dividing everything up. It just didn’t make sense to me.”
Dr. Arwood holds a firm belief that providing all children with learning is a social justice issue, and her courses through APRICOT reinforce that through their focus on inclusive practice. Before founding APRICOT, she had trouble reconciling the developmental methods she learned as an undergrad with what she was seeing in some of her patients. Dr. Arwood explained further:
I’ve always believed in inclusive practice...I was really frustrated with the methods that were out there that were not helping kids really learn. They were developmental methods, and they were great practices, but they also didn’t match what I was seeing in kids...Then, I [meet an] 11-year-old who has all the social hygiene—everyday ways of being typical—but he can’t read, he can’t write, he can’t talk, and he has no form of communication. And that doesn’t match. If it’s developmental across the board, and it’s an underlying ability capacity, all of those things should be there.
She found herself working with some students who presented with language disorders that should not be possible from a developmental perspective. For example, kids whose expressive language was much greater than their receptive language. The developmental therapy techniques that she had learned were not always effective with every child she encountered. “Social justice is just part of that” said Dr. Arwood, “because equal access means that I have worked off your strengths and not your deficits. That means I’ve taken the literature on the brain and the neuroscience—and what we know about semantics, pragmatics, and semiotics—and I triangulated that literature.” After examining the literature, she determined that there’s not a specific region of the brain dedicated to the word, nor is the word the unit of analysis in the brain. So she asked herself, “Why are we working on words? Why are we working on sounds to form words? Why are we not working on writing instead of on speech?’”
Dr. Arwood also believes that “language is a mirror to the brain.” During the past 20 years, she has focused on connecting pragmaticism and inclusive practice to emerging neuroscience research in her workshops. Some of the research she’s most excited about is that of Dr. Friedemann Pulvermüller. For the last 2 decades, he’s been investigating where the word is located in the brain. In 2016, Dr. Pulvermüller concluded that the location doesn’t exist—and that we don’t have words but, rather, that we process the features of words. “Which goes back to our linguistic background—semantic feature hypothesis—of what comes in through the sensory system,” Dr. Arwood concluded, “which was what I had identified many, many years ago.” Many of her current workshops integrate research and articles like this, and another article by Colby Miller from 2020, which connects with Dr. Pulvermüller’s findings. Miller’s article was about how, when someone’s brain is prompted with a word, the same region of the brain is engaged as when the action the word would encourage is performed. “Let’s say if you were to say [the word] carry,” Dr. Arwood conveyed. “The brain actually shows the circuits for physically carrying something. The concept itself [the word carry] has embedded the features of the physical activity [carrying something], and the brain is accessing that [when prompted with the word].” This concept also aligns with Dr. Arwood’s philosophy that providing all children with learning is a social justice issue. She explained:
What is that child’s [level of] access? Because if you teach all the kids the same way and do the same thing, you’re not allowing [them] access to their own brain, which is unique. Everybody’s brain is unique in that way, based on past experiences. So, the classrooms and what we do with them have to be set up so we work off [the student] and not tell them what it is we want them to respond with.”
Reflections as a Learner
Dr. Arwood is known as a presenter, but she has also been on the other side of the podium many times—as a learner. Over the course of her career, she’s earned five Awards for Continuing Education (ACEs), achieving 7.0 or more ASHA continuing education units (CEUs) in a 3-year range. Two continuing education courses stand out to her: The first was a week-long project at the Kresge Center, dissecting brains. “It was designed with these big nuggets—takeaway nuggets,” she remembered, “as opposed to ‘this is what you do and how you do it.’” When recalling the course, she said that one of the other learners was dissecting a brain in which the temporal lobe was nearly nonexistent. “So, the question would be, ‘How did that person process?’ And I’m going, ‘I bet I know how that person processed. They processed with that visual system.’” One major takeaway from this course was that no two individual brains are alike. They are all unique. “So, therefore, you don’t have a specific region that is specific to a specific function,” Dr. Arwood concluded. “That’s what some of the neurosemantic [research] is showing today.”
Another continuing education course that stood out to her was offered by Social Thinking. What impressed her most about this course was that they were willing to include speakers who had different opinions and who sometimes disagreed with the methods that Social Thinking uses. The presentation involved working through these differences conversationally. “You can learn from those kinds of situations,” Dr. Arwood said, “that kind of discourse.”
Impacts of COVID-19 on Students
When asked about the impacts of COVID-19 on her and her students, Dr. Arwood noted that one significant issue she’s recognized—both in her students and in society at large––is displacement. This issue is prevalent with the wide use of Zoom and other video conference platforms due to social distancing. “[When using] Zoom, we have a lot of displacement,” Dr. Arwood stated. “Because you have a lot of people in multiple spaces—multiple planes—that have to be processed neurologically...people are getting headaches and fatigue.” Conducting therapy over video conferencing adds another layer of complexity. Sessions with nonverbal patients are especially difficult, she said. When therapy is done in-person, the therapist and client do a lot of hand-over-hand physical movement to record concepts in the brain. This helps children with visual processing, so they can start to read, write, and talk. Now, parents need to sit next to their kids on video conference to help with this. “We know that we learn neurobiologically, but we also learn sociocognitively, in a cultural way,” she said. “The amount of energy that we bring into a space and the way [we] assign meaning is done differently when there’s this much displacement.” Dr. Arwood shared a recent experience with students over video conferencing when they asked if she was real or not. They weren’t sure because they were only seeing her on a screen. She acknowledged, “[The] sociocognitive, sociocultural piece—of being able to assign meaning and be within the same space...I don’t think we realized how important it was.”
Dr. Arwood is seeing the impacts of the pandemic not only on her students but in professionals as well. She currently mentors a doctoral student who is a regional supervisor of a group of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and is researching how professionals are coping with the pandemic. “Many of them have been struck with stress types of illness, almost, because of the demands placed on them in this kind of situation.” Dr. Arwood’s doctoral student has worked with these SLPs on using methods to help their patients problem-solve, critically think, and work through their language. She questions, “Are these people—as professionals, as adults—are they, under a crisis situation, able to use the same strategies for themselves?...So, we’ll find out, we’ll see, and then we’ll have a huge takeaway on that.”
ASHA CE Administration
After 36 years as a CE Administrator, Dr. Arwood offered these words of wisdom to other Providers and CE Administrators: “As a Provider for CEUs, you have to be organized, [which means] getting things filled out in time and sent in on time.” She thinks that providing ASHA CEUs is worth doing, even if it may end up benefiting just a few people—because the learners are making a difference. “I know that they keep going back out and changing what they’re doing...revitalizing schools and helping people set up different processes of doing things.” She feels like this is part of what SLPs and educators do as a community. “If you’ve got a reason for learning, and you want other people to learn, and you have something that’s relevant, practical, and meaningful—that’s what [Malcolm Shepherd] Knowles says adult learners want.”
Although Dr. Arwood is stepping down from her role as a CE Administrator, she’s not walking away from her work. She plans to keep writing, now that she’ll have more time. She also wants to do more consulting workshops—and continue with her mentoring. “I mentor a lot of people [who] are new in the field with their doctorates...I do that in an area of neuroeducation, which pulls in the speech-pathology from a neuroscience, cognitive psych, and language background.” Many of her mentees have finished their dissertations and are working in various fields—from speech-language pathology to nursing. “I love mentoring and helping people—and seeing the changes. I want to continue with that.”
We, here at ASHA CE, want to thank Dr. Arwood for her years of service as a CE Administrator. We’re excited to see what the future holds for her.
Vance Tyson joined the ASHA Continuing Education (CE) team as an Accounts Manager in August 2020. Prior to this, he worked as both a temporary CE Accounts Manager and ASHA Certification Application Manager for 1.5 years. Originally hailing from western North Carolina, he now lives in D.C., patiently awaiting a return to the days of the capital’s energetic lifestyle.
Katie O’Connor joined the Continuing Education Team as a CE Accounts Manager in October 2020. Before joining ASHA CE, she worked as a Customer Relations Manager in the ASHA Action Center for 5 years. Originally from Virginia, Katie now lives in D.C. with her partner and their mischievous tuxedo cat named Cudi.
Tiphani Seay is the most recent addition to ASHA CE, having joined the team in November 2020 as a CE Accounts Manager. Tiphani previously worked for the American Society of Interior Designers in Membership and Industry Partner Operations. Prior to that, she worked for the International Association of Dental Research as a Membership and Registrations Services Coordinator. She currently resides in Bethesda, Maryland. In her free time, she enjoys working out.
We know that you have a lot of responsibilities as a CE Administrator or Content Consultant, including creating quality continuing education and ensuring compliance with the ASHA CE Board (CEB) Requirements. To understand your experience as a Provider more deeply, ASHA CE is interviewing a small group of Providers this month (March) to learn (a) what facilitates compliance with the Requirements and (b) the challenges experienced when developing, registering, conducting, and reporting on courses.
ASHA CE will use the information that we collect to identify and share Provider best practices and to further support our Providers’ incorporation of the ASHA CEB Requirements into quality continuing education programs.
Since we introduced the new Brand Block in December, we’ve seen many Providers using it in their promotional material. It’s exciting to see how quickly Providers have embraced our refreshed brand!
As more Providers start using the Brand Block, we wanted to highlight some of the changes associated with it:
No Need to Include the ASHA CEU Sentence
When you use the new Brand Block, you shouldn’t include the ASHA CEU sentence that accompanied the old version of the Brand Block. Instead, you’ll include the course information (instructional level and ASHA CEU amount) in one of two ways (see Version 1 and Version 2, below).
Include the course information inside the new Brand Block itself using the PDF file (which you can convert to a JPEG after the course information is entered), like so:
Include the course information directly adjacent to the new Brand Block using the JPEG version, like so:
1.05 ASHA CEUs
If you’re advertising multiple courses in one promotional piece, use the JPEG version of the Brand Block (Version 2). You’ll have one Brand Block, and you’ll include the corresponding course information with each course’s title and description.
No Need to Indicate the Content Area in Promotional Material
Did you notice that, in the examples above, the Content Area (Professional or Related) is not indicated? That’s because we no longer require you to include it on the promotional material for a course. ASHA CE conducted a survey of ASHA members and Providers when we were considering refreshing our brand. In that survey, many ASHA members indicated that the Content Area was not useful information for them and that it caused confusion. Even though the Content Area will not be included in the promotional material, it must still be selected in the CE Provider Portal as part of the course registration process.
No Borders, Please
Since the updated Brand Block is also new to your course participants, ASHA CE wants to ensure that the image remains as consistent as possible across all Providers’ promotional material. Therefore, we’ve made one change to our Brand Block Guidelines, asking our Providers to refrain from adding any type of border to the Brand Block and providing spacing guidance. Check out the updated Brand Block Guidelines for more details.
Intersections is published by:
ASHA Continuing Education staff with the assistance of a volunteer advisory panel of ASHA Approved CE Providers: Chelsea Bailey (OSLHA), Tracey Callahan (SLP Nerdcast), Debra Cowley (Starkey Hearing Technologies), Lisa Milliken (Select Rehab), Selena Reece (Carolina Speech Pathology), Wayne Secord (Red Rock Publications), Cory Tompkins (Career Improvement & Advancement Opportunities), and Mark Witkind (Witkind Associates)
Managing Editors: Joan Oberlin, Jo Ann Linseisen
Continuing Education Board Members:
Tanya Shores (chair), Diana Christiana, Tedd Masiongale, Margaret Pierce, Raul Prezas, Katelyn Reilly, Katie Strong, Anu Subramanian, Joanne Slater, Valeria Roberts Matlock (Board of Directors liaison), Sharon Moss (Board of Directors liaison), and Jo Ann Linseisen (ex officio)