Wednesday, October 29, 2014

General Meeting Minutes #4

Hello NSSLHA! We had such a great turnout at our graduate school panel yesterday and we are so grateful to all of the schools that participated and provided us with such great info about their respective programs. Here's the rundown on our upcoming events and opps and all of the info from our panel.

Reminder: Each event you sign up for credits you ONE point, regardless of the shifts you sign up for. The only exception to this is bake sales where you can receive one point for volunteering and one for bringing baked goods. Please keep this in mind when you sign up for events. 

Service Opportunities
Longhorn Halloween: November 2nd at the Frank Erwin Center. We need volunteers for event set up from 11:30am - 2pm and volunteers for the actual event from 2-5pm
Thanks Day: November 6th at Gregory Plaza for one hour any time between 9am and 2pm. This event is to encourage others to thank UT's supporters for all they do for the school.
Brooke Elementary School: SCORES Program: Starts the second week of November on Tuesdays from 8-10am or 1-2:40pm. Tasks include shadowing students that are being evaluated for Autism, documenting information from these students, seeing the teachers in action, and working with these students side by side.
The University of Texas Child Development Campus Book Drive: Asking for gently used children and parenting books. 2 books = 1 point.
Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT) Speech Program: This event is a year-long service opportunity that starts January 2015 and ends December 2015. For a few hours 1-2 times a month on Saturdays you will assist in child-directed play, prepare the space for instruction, as well as aid families with behaviors.

Sign ups will be emailed out and posted to the blog once they are available!

Fundraising and Social Events
TSD (Texas School for the Deaf) Football Game: Friday November 7th at 7PM. If you need a ride, we will be meeting in front of Littlefield Fountain at 6:30PM. Google spreadsheets will be posted and emailed for drivers and cars needed as soon as the event approaches!
Iowa State Tailgate: This was a huge success and we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed hosting it. The sign up was lost so if you attended, please assure your social point by adding your name to the google sheet here
Bake Sale: November 5th from 10am-3pm outside of the CMA. You can receive one point for volunteering and one point for donating baked goods. Sign ups are included below

Miscellaneous Points 
National Stuttering Association Open House: Monday November 10th from 6:30-8:30 PM. Free pizza and refreshments! Please RSVP to Ryan McDermott by November 8th at
Brown Bag Meet Ups: Please arrange your meetups and send your pictures to Lindsey at :)

Grad School Panel
University of Houston 
Contact Information: Dr. Byron Ross
Offers a Masters of Art or Masters of Science Degree
Accredited Program
Admission to the program is limited to 30-40 new students each fall. Deadline to apply is February 1st
Academic coursework is a total of 49 credit hours, which include 31 of required content coursework, 3 credits of electives, and 15 credits in clinic assignments
Offers Part-time or Full-time track
Part time students enroll in a 7 semester program and Full time students enroll for 5 semesters
3 Specialty Tracks: Medical, Pediatric, or Research and you can select upon admission
Offer diverse clinical clientele experience, including bilinguals
Admissions Process includes: Resume, 3 letters of recommendation, personal statement, official transcripts and GRE scores

Lamar University 
Located in Beaumont, TX an hour from Houston
2-year Masters of Science Degree program
Doctoral Program for Audiology
No specialized tracks, however, they do offer certifications in Vocology which students can elect to do as separate courses from the required coursework
Consists of 10 academic course and a sequence of clinical practicum experiences
Very hands on experience - each person gets their own client
Offers mentor program: Mentor to undergraduate freshmen or sophomore
The majority of the hospital and medical exposure students seek are offered in the last two semesters through externships
Admissions Process includes: 3 letters of recommendation, competitive GPA and GRE score, and an essay on career goals

West Texas A&M
Contact Information: Dr. Brenda Fields Cross, email:
Located in Canyon, outside of Amarillo
Undergraduate and Graduate Program
On-site clinic
Contracted by several of the local districts for speech pathology services for grad students
Medical placements for students with local hospitals are also available
Graduate program admits 27 students in the fall
Only offer Fall Admission
Students are brought in for Clinical Orientation a week before school starts and the first week of classes is also the first week of clinical rotations
5 semesters
No academic coursework the last spring, instead students leave on an externship to solely work on getting hours

Contact Information: Leah, email:
Take summer and fall admissions: 12 students accepted in the summer and 12 in the fall, and 6 for the slow track
Main campus is in Denton and part of the campus is in Dallas
Splitting the practicums - Dallas offers an awesome stroke center
7 semesters for full time
A slow track is available for students who want to work and go to school at the same time. This allows them to graduate a semester or two behind by taking a lighter course load but still going through the same sequence
Summer program is also available
There are a lot of opportunities to figure out what you like and what you don't like and you can shape your interests and the experiences you would like to participate in
Do offer a leveling program
Please check out their website for more info, including individualized programs and summer programs

UT Dallas 
Contact Information: Dr. Robert Stillman, email:
Very individualized and flexible program so that you can choose the coursework and practicum you want based on your career goals
Degree plan only has 6 required courses (16 hours)
Total hours required is 39, leaving you with 23 hours of free electives
Offer 26 different elective courses every year
11 one credit online modules are also offered
City of Dallas for practicum on and off campus offers many medical placements, schools, clinics, long term care, private practices to place students
60-65 active sites every semester
Supportive, student centered, open door atmosphere
Definitely recommend visiting to get a feel for it
Program is designed so that students are out by 4PM allowing room for jobs
New autism center will be opened in the spring semester and a new clinical training/services facilities is also being built
If you're interested in research, there is a PhD program and plenty of research opportunities and positions are available
Bilingual program: focused on large measure of early reading and pre literacy. Will most likely hire 9 students
Do admit in all 3 semesters
Letters of recommendation are probably the most important for admission since UT Dallas does know the faculty here personally and their perception of who you are is solely based on that
Strongly encouraged to talk to the faculty

That's all for today! Don't forget our next meeting will actually be NEXT WEEK on November 4th so please come out. See you then! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

General Meeting Minutes #3

Hi NSSLHA! We had such an interesting meeting today with our guest speaker David Simmons, and we hope you all thoroughly enjoyed it as well. As always, below are our upcoming events :)

Service Opportunities 
Growing Roots Tuesday: As per usual, we will be having another volunteer Tuesday a week from today, 10/21 at the Pan Am Cantu Rec Center from 5:30-8:00 PM. Remember, preference is given to the first four volunteers!
Best Buddies Fall Fundraiser: Preference was given to those who signed up first and they should have received an email. For those who were selected: if you cannot attend the fundraiser this Sunday, 10/19, please email prior to the event so we can allow another member to take your place!
Texas Academy of Audiology Conference: Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled :(
REMINDERS: Any volunteering at Texas School for the Deaf counts for service points. Also, two weeks at Austin Speech Labs counts for 2 service points. Please use the Volunteer Form (linked in the October Events post) to receive your points!

Fundraising and Social Events
Austin's Pizza Fundraiser: Going on right now and counts with both food AND alcohol!!! Will end at 10 PM, so please stop by and mention you're with UT NSSLHA. Don't forget to email or text your receipt to Gabby or (210) 364-5094
Bake Sale: Our first bake sale is tentatively set for November 5th! We will confirm this at a later date :)
Iowa State Tailgate: Don't forget our first tailgate this Saturday, 10/18 at 4PM. You are more than welcome to bring a date and please wear your NSSLHA shirt. This event will be catered by Fat Sals and we will be having our group picture taken around 5:45-6 PM. Please RSVP to our FB event and come out!
TSD (Texas School for the Deaf) Football Game: Come support TSD November 7th at 7PM!

Miscellaneous Points
GRE Study Group: Our first study group will be this Thursday, 10/16, from 5:30-8PM, hopefully in the same room as our meeting. An email will be sent out and don't forget that attending two sessions will count as one misc. point! Even if you are not taking the GRE yet, this is a good way to prep and see what to expect. *ETS website has free material to print*
Please bring your own materials and come out to study!
NSSLHA Brown Bag Meet Up: Thank you to everyone who signed up. Assignments will be emailed out Wednesday night so be on the look out for that!

Just a few side notes
Support the CSD Doctoral Students that are selling t-shirts in a variety of styles! The link to purchase is on our FB page.
A message from Dr. Franco: Helpers are needed 6hrs/wk to support young adults with autism in the home and community. Approximately $11-12/hr.
Also super important: If you sign up for an event, you MUST attend. Not only are other NSSLHA members counting on you to be there, but the people we are serving are looking forward to it too. Please keep this in mind, and if you absolutely cannot attend an event, please email us 24 hour prior so that we can making adjustments if needed. There is a new implementation of negative points meaning we will deduct points for every unexcused or missed event.

Guest Lecturer: David Simmons, American Sign Language Lecturer
David Simmons was born profoundly deaf and moved from South Africa to the US where he learned American Sign Language at Gallaudet University. He moved to Austin on August 8, 2008 and he began teaching ASL at ACC. Dr. Bernstein later hired him to work here at UT. He says he is incredibly blessed to be here - "My name is David here, in South Africa my name is deaf."

Difference between Deaf and deaf
Deaf: Cultural perspective
deaf: Medical/pathological perspective

Deaf people tend to be placed into a specific category of people and they tend to be left to the side and ignored. This results in a lot of missing information.
Helen Keller had a real huge impact. She was both deaf and blind and she became well known throughout the world. Blindness cuts people off from things because they can't see what's out there. However, deafness cuts people off from communication, it's the loss of vital stimulation such as music from the radio, jokes shared amongst people, and the sounds of nature. Her mission was to prove that she wasn't cut out from the world. Professor Simmons apologizes to Helen Keller because she was born in the wrong time and didn't get to experience the development of technology - deaf people now have cell phones that allow them to talk via their interpreter and can use video to connect.
Not everything has been solved for the deaf community, but students like us are taking it step by step in helping to bridge the relationship between deaf and hearing people.
Being deaf is a 180dB loss. However, parents now have more options instead of just forcing their deaf child to conform and learn English. Throughout time, the development of the cochlear implant and the acceptance of sign has changed the perspective of deafness. Speech therapy allows for deaf individuals to learn to speak, even perfectly, like in the case of his mother who learned to speak after undergoing speech therapy for four hours a day for three years.
The deaf population is booming rapidly, especially locally. In the Austin Metropolitan area, the population is roughly 1.37 million. From that number, about 870,000 people are deaf. According to the Department of Assistive Rehabilitation Services, 17.8% of the population is either deaf or hard of hearing and 3.8% is culturally Deaf using ASL.
In the case of ASL, approximately 2,190 students enroll in ASL classes every year. There has been a 432% increase of ASL enrollments since 1988 due to the rebellion at Gallaudet University, when they hired a hearing person as the university's president. Many in the community had advocated for a deaf president to be elected given that this is single deaf university in the world. This event created a lot of attention, mostly good, for the deaf community. Now, sign language is the 4th most taught foreign language in the world and the 3rd most used language in the US. It's even generated a great influence in baby sign language where studies show that teaching an infant sign language makes it easier for them to communicate with their parents at a younger age. There is a critical period for language acquisition, usually before the age of 10. Studies show that delayed or degraded language input results in incomplete grammatical knowledge and less efficient grammatical processing as well as deficits that persist regardless of length and intensive language experience.
So, what can we do?
In our field, we can offer parents the FULL options. Let them decide what is best for their child and provide them with enough information and selection for informed options. Along with ASL, speech and hearing are great too.
If you would like to have more involvement with the Deaf community, ACC Cypress Creek and Rio Grande offer ASL classes. There is also a Facebook group, Sign Horns, that shares several on and off campus events to volunteer. If you would like more information or have any pertinent questions, you can contact Diana Mendoza or Professor Simmons.

That's all for now everyone. Please join us at our next meeting on October 28th, which will be our Graduate School Panel! Enjoy your night and good luck on midterms! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October Service Links

As you will see in the events listed below, there are sign-up deadlines now that will not be changed.  For any questions in regards to the information provided (TBDs will be updated on the blog: when information is provided to me), please email  I will try to respond to you as soon as I can!

For events that will not have any officers present, please don't forget to get your Volunteer Form 
 signed and turned in to an officer, to get the volunteer points you earned.

Sign-up that will close MondayOctober 6th, at NOON

Growing Roots
October 7, 2014
(4 volunteer limit)

Sign-up that will close Tuesday, October 7th at 10pm

Earplugs for ACL!

Sign-ups that will close Thursday, October 9th, at 10pm

Autism Speaks Walk
October 11, 2014

Best Buddies:  Fall Fundraiser
October 19, 2014
(5 volunteer limit)
Best Buddies:  Halloween Carnival
November 2, 2014
(5 volunteer limit)
Sign-up that will close Sunday, October 19th, at 10pm

15th Annual Texas Academy of Audiology Conference  
TBD between October 24–25, 2014