MSHA members in action.

MSHA End of the Year Summary

Hello MSHA,

As we come to the end of 2015, I thought I’d share the highlights of our year by sharing our goals and progress. At our first meeting January, we established the following goals. Following each, I’ve summarized our progress.

  1. Maintain the high quality of Fall Convention and MSHA sponsored activities.  Our fall convention was a success and we were also cosponsors of many CEU activities including the Ritecare Spring Conference with Sarah Ward.
  2. Maintain Membership at 200 and increase active members.  We actually hit 300! We have 96 students, 164 SLPs, 24 Audiologists, 7 dual and 9 speech aides.  Don’t forget to renew for 2016 if you haven’t already! We have members active on several issues including telepractice, convention planning, scholarship and licensure issues.
  3. Maintain Involvement at the National Level  We received two grants from ASHA, our president-elect attended CSAP, our SEAL attended the schools conference.  We nominated two members for national awards.
  4. Be active and involved in the legislature with issues that effect members.  We successfully passed a bill to allow billing for E and M codes and we were actively involved in several other bills including one that allows for speech therapy coverage for individuals with Down’s Syndrome.  We recently appeared at the Economic Affairs Interim Committee meeting to express our concern about license fees.
  5. Be active and involved with all our members including our students. We awarded two MSHA scholarships, we answered questions from members, provided monthly training on telepractice and addressed concerns about licensure fees.  We launched our new website. We published out newsletter, the Communicator. We sent monthly emails and kept our facebook page active with monthly themes.  We added a pinterest account. We had excellent student participation at convention for the poster session.
  6. Improve communication and involvement with the licensure board.  We spent the year working to get a complete licensure board and we are now respectively requesting  this new board to address our concerns about license fees.

We are proud of our members and our accomplishments. For 2016, we plan to survey members and continue to build groups to address our interests and concerns. We plan to offer monthly web meetings to address these concerns and we are encouraging and supporting groups to gather. We are working to provide fall convention offerings that will attract school based and medical based SLPs, audiologists and students.  We welcome your input!

Happy New Year!

Rachel Stansberry,  2015 MSHA President.


Convention Highlights-Social Communication Development

The Montana Speech-language Hearing Association hosted Maryellen Moreau at their annual convention this year. Mrs. Moreau is known for her work developing the Story Grammar Marker. She has since expanded her company, Mindwing Concepts to include excellent tools for students to build narrative, thinking social communication and comprehension skills. Check out all they do at
Her presentation focused on social communication development through narrative based intervention. Story based intervention was cited as one of the eleven established treatments for Autism.: The only non-behavioral intervention cited.  (National standards Project, Evidence Based Practice and Autism in the schools).
Those of us who know and use the Story Grammar Marker know this tool to be an amazing support for students in their efforts to learn how to put together a personal narrative, story retell or for understanding expository text.  In this presentation, she highlighted books and ways that focus us toward the specific needs of students with social communication challenges.
The key points she made included these:
  • The importance of fully describing and discussing the setting in a story to help children recognize and truly understand all that is expected and unexpected within a given context. The kick off in story is what then separates the expected from the unexpected.
  • The importance of narrating the same story from the view point of more than one character. This is a great way to work on perspective taking and help students understand that two different characters can have a different emotional reaction and plan in response to the same situation.
  • The importance of teaching the thinking verbs as well as the verbs that tell how something is expressed (she called these the linguistic verbs).
  • It’s often the illustrations that provide much of this information and we can use these as a teaching tool.
The Paper Bag Princess Robert Munch-Great for illustrations for body language/emotional language. Text is good for emotional verbs/thinking verbs
Clifford’s Pals  Norman Birdwell – and all the Clifford books are good for  seeing a kick off, showing cause and effect from more than one perspective.
Knuffle Bunny   Mo Willems -wonderful for two person perspective (All of Mo Willems books are good for this).
Calvin Can’t Fly  -Nice to show a social situation as well as problem solving.
Are you Ready to Play Outside-Mo Wilhelms- Five stars to show emotional language, two perspectives, problem solving and how one being can be working toward a solution while the other is caught in the problem.
She also read a passage from  this adult bookRain, Reign  by Ann Martin.  It is the story of a girl with ASD and the way she thinks. The passage provided a great example of how an individuals compulsions or obsessions can interfere with his/her ability to process what is going on in any given moment.  Just as the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night had a great example of how something as random as seeing a certain color car can cause someone to have a bad day, this book showed how preoccupation with something like homophones can take over all thinking.
This was a great workshop and I personally left with many ideas and new ways to use books to build social communication skills.


MSHA Fall Convention Summary

Many thanks to all of you who attended, participated, volunteered, contributed, voted, laughed, cried, listened, waited, and shared our fall convention with us in Billings. We were pleased with our turn out and our excellent program!  Our illustrious treasurer, Shar, is finalizing our numbers and we’ll share those soon. In the meantime, we’d like to thank Molly Beck, our SLP at large and Jenn Closson, our past president for their service to our organization. They will be leaving our board at the end of the year. We will welcome Catherine Drescher. She is changing her role from secretary to president. We also welcome Brigette Watters as our new secretary and Kathleen Delapp-Cohn as  our new SLP member at large.  Stay tuned for more info on annual meeting, our convention highlights and reporting on the SLP and Audiology presentations.

What do you mean, you're not a morning person?

MSHA ANNUAL MEETING is October 16, 2015 at 7 am at the Crowne Plaza in Billings.  Yes, you read that right, 7 am!  For the past few years, we’ve had fewer people attend our luncheon, so we are trying something new. We’ll have coffee from City Brew and some breakfast.   Our annual meeting is the time we look over all we’ve accomplished in the past year and make plans for the coming year. We elect new officers and recognize the current board members for their service to our organization.

Why just a year ago, Jenn Closson announced her vision for our new website. She and Diane Simpson wanted a user friendly site with visual appeal. One that included a blog from the president as well as guests. If you’ve found this page, you know that MSHA has the vision and the commitment to bring our ideas to life.

If you are a blogger and would like to be linked or guest blog on our site, let us know.

See you soon!- your MSHA president, Rachel

Board Meeting on September 9, 2015

On our Agenda…

Review of June Meeting Minutes and Committee Reports

New Business including Convention Plans, License Fee Action Update, Member Concerns, Nominations and Awards

Our Annual Meeting will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Billings at 7 am on October 16, 2015.  We will review our year, our budget and elect new officers to the board. Hope to see you there!


The Latest on License Fees

We’ve been waiting patiently for the Governor to appoint the two new members to the licensure board. They will then be trained and MSHA has asked them to immediately attend to the license fee issue. We are also increasing our visibility and involvement with the interim committee in the legislature that is addressing fees for all licensure boards.