MSLHA Newsletter

For all Maine speech, language, and hearing professionals

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June 2022

Our online newsletter continues! Please let us know your thoughts and ideas about what to include in future publications by going to under "Contact Us" on the navigation menu.

Notes from Alice

Each April is the official change of the MSLHA Executive Council’s (EC) leadership for the

upcoming year. Many thanks to Sue Shain, our current Past President, for her steady hand over

the past two years guiding us through the pandemic. Thanks also to our former Past President,

Deb Cloran, who has just left the EC after serving more than 15 years, for a life of retirement

and boating adventures with her husband. We look forward to her blog and hope we can

provide you with updates from time to time. We welcome the return of Beth Ellsworth to Maine

and for serving as our current President-Elect.

I am delighted to be serving you all as your new President. I have lived in Maine since 2010 and

have been a MSLHA member since 2018. I became an SLP in 1987 and specialized in patients

with cleft lip and palate, working on cleft teams and teaching at universities in 4 states during my career. Here in Maine I was a Rehab Manager working with adults. I retired (mostly) in 2020

although I still see patients for evaluations occasionally. I was Co-Chair of the Speech Council

for Operation Smile for several years and am currently on the boards for Facing Maine

(families/persons with clefts/facial differences) and for Speech Therapy Cambodia (swallowing

training for professionals).

I look forward to an exciting year for MSLHA, especially with our return to a live conference in

Portland on November 9-10. We on the EC would love to hear from our members any time

about concerns, issues and ideas. We would be delighted to welcome some of you to the EC

committees, so let us know if you are interested in joining us! Please comment on posts on our

Maine Speech Language Hearing Association Facebook page or Messenger, or email us at

Have a wonderful summer!



Alice E. Smith, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

MSLHA President

MSLHA (Live!) Conference Coming in November

It's back!! MSLHA will be hosting a live conference this November! See below for the details.

When: November 9 & 10, 2022

Where: DoubleTree Hotel & Conference Center at 363 Maine Mall Road in South Portland, Maine

Who and What: We are excited to offer a diverse selection of topics for different populations.

Wednesday, November 9th:

  • Jennie Bjorem, M.A. CCC-SLP (6 hours)

    • Childhood Apraxia of Speech: Assessment, Diagnosis, & Treatment

  • Julie A.G. Stierwalt Ph.D., CCC-SLP (6 hours)

    • Evaluation and Differential Diagnosis of the Dysarthrias

    • Management of the Dysarthrias Across Communication Environments

Thursday, November 10th:

  • Gail Van Tatenhove, PA, MS, CCC-SLP (6 hours)

    • AAC Intervention & Core Vocabulary Implementation for Young Children At-Risk for Developing Speech: Setting a Course for Their Future!

    • Doing Traditional Speech-Language Therapy Activities with Children using AAC Systems

  • Michael Towey, MS, CCC-SLP (3 hours)

    • Let’s Get Telepractical: Advanced Practice Adult Intervention in Telepractice

  • Zoe Kennedy, MA, CCC-SLP (3 hours)

    • Head and Neck Cancer: What SLPs Need to Know

For updates and information:



Meet Our Speakers for the 2022 MSLHA Conference

SESSION TITLE: Let’s Get Telepractical: Advanced Practice Adult Intervention in Telepractice

Michael Towey, M.A. CCC-SLP directed the Speech Language Pathology/Voice and Swallowing Center at Waldo County Hospital (WCGH) in Belfast, ME., leading a department of 20 speech language pathologists, providing speech therapy telehealth regionally and internationally.

Mike is an ASHA Fellow and has provided telepractice training to medical professionals in 44 states, universities and in Israel, Finland, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Italy. His publications include articles and book chapters about speech telehealth in voice & swallowing treatment. He is a frequent invited presenter at ASHA national conventions. Mike led the development of the first accredited speech telepractice training program approved by the American Telemedicine Association, recognized as a national model for a “content-rich and application-based speech telepractice training program” (Grillo, 2019). In addition, Mike has taught about telerehabilitation at the University of Maine, Northern Arizona University, Ohio State University, and the University of Delaware. Mike recently retired from WCGH and maintains an active role on the Advisory Council of Amplio Learning in advanced use of speech therapy telepractice, natural language processing and artificial intelligence.

Grillo E. U. (2019). Building a Successful Voice Telepractice Program. Perspectives of the ASHA special interest groups, 4(1), 100–110.

SESSION TITLES: Evaluation and Differential Diagnosis of the Dysarthrias and

Management of the Dysarthrias Across Communication Environments

Julie A.G. Stierwalt, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is a Consultant in the Division of Speech Pathology, Department of Neurology and Associate Professor in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota, where she serves as a consultant for individuals presenting with a wide range of speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing impairments. Prior to her work at Mayo, she was in academia for 19 years where she taught courses in dysphagia, motor speech disorders, acquired communication disorders, structural-based communication disorders, and medical speech pathology. Dr. Stierwalt received her B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Northern Iowa, and her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She has numerous journal publications, chapters, a co-authored textbook titled “Brain-Based Communication Disorders” as well as, “Aphasia and Related Neurogenic Language Disorders 5th Edition” co-edited with Leonard LaPointe, a text that has been translated and published in Mandarin Chinese and Greek. In 2009 ASHA recognized Dr. Stierwalt’s contributions to the field with Fellow status.

SESSION TITLES: AAC Intervention & Core Vocabulary Implementation for Young Children At-Risk for Developing Speech: Setting a Course for Their Future! and

Doing Traditional Speech-Language Therapy Activities with Children using AAC Systems

Gail M Van Tatenhove, MS, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist with over 40 years of experience working with children and adults who use AAC systems. She has worked in a center-based school for children with complex communication needs, on a state-wide AAC assessment team, and in a home-based private practice to provide collaborative services with families for their children and adults using AAC systems. Her contributions to the field of AAC are numerous and include development of a loaner bank of AAC devices; development of AAC-based therapy and classroom products; participation in ASHA projects on AAC implementation; editor, coordinating committee member and professional development manager for Special Interest Group 12 of ASHA; board member of USSAAC; and past president of FSAAC, the Florida chapter of USSAAC. Gail is a Fellow with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

SESSION TITLE: Head and Neck Cancer: What SLPs Need to Know

Zoe Kennedy, MA, CCC-SLP is a speech pathologist at Waldo County General Hospital. She is the clinical lead with patients who are managing head and neck cancer and treatment side effects. She has developed a treatment pathway and has been working to have it implemented across the organization for improved treatment of dysphagia management and voice rehabilitation in this patient population. At WCGH, she routinely completes videofluoroscopic swallow studies, flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing, esophageal and pharyngeal manometry for evaluation and biofeedback, and completes initial assessment and routine maintenance for voice prostheses used by laryngectomy patients.

SESSION TITLE: Childhood Apraxia of Speech: Assessment, Diagnosis & Treatment

Jennie Bjorem M.A., CCC-SLP, Childhood Apraxia Specialist has been practicing as a pediatric speech language pathologist for over 22 years. Over the past 10 years, Jennie has taken a special interest in childhood apraxia of speech. She currently carries a small caseload of children with childhood apraxia and travels the country presenting on the topic. She is recognized for advanced training in Childhood Apraxia by Apraxia Kids. Jennie has owned a private practice in Overland Park, Kansas for the past 20 years and is the owner of Bjorem Speech Publications. Jennie’s goal is to publish inclusive and diverse products that speak to all children and therapists.

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Update: Compensating SLPs in Schools

In the last newsletter, we addressed an issue regarding extra monetary compensation for being a nationally board certified teacher (NBCT) while excluding speech-language pathologists with their certificate of clinical competence (CCC-SLP) in many school districts in Maine. MSLHA’s Executive Council (EC), with the help of some school-based SLPs, has researched whether or not an NBCT and an CCC-SLP are comparable when looking at areas such as education, continued education requirements, and monetary demands to achieve and maintain. The clear answer to us is an unequivocal yes (see this document for more information: A Comparison of School Professionals).

MSLHA’s EC is now working to put forth a bill in the Maine state legislature that mirrors a current statute (13013-A Salary supplements for national board-certified teachers) that gives $3000 a year for teachers who are nationally board certified and $5000 for those teachers who work in a Title 1 school. The EC believes that CCC-SLPs deserve at least this same amount of compensation. Here are the steps we are currently working on.

  • Get a sponsor in the legislature for this bill (specific legislators have been contacted)

  • Continue to gather information regarding the current SLP vacancies in schools

    • According to Serving Schools at the end of June, there are approximately 50-55 positions (give or take a few due to possible duplications) just in schools that are waiting to be filled.

    • We would like to have a better understanding of this information (such as how long there has been a vacancy and what the district has done to compensate for it).

      • If you have an opening(s) in your district, please contact us with this information (

  • Continue to gather information regarding soon-to-be retiring SLPs in schools

    • If you are an SLP in a school who is retiring or knows someone who is retiring, please contact us with this information (

  • Continue to gather information about how other states have successfully passed legislation to better compensate school-based SLPs.

    • ASHA and their State Education Advocacy Leaders (SEALS) have assisted with this.

    • If you are an SLP who has achieved this in another state, please let us know! (

  • To help gather the information above, we anticipate sending out a survey to Maine SLPs sometime in the next month or so. Please be looking for this survey in your email or on our Facebook page (Maine Speech Language Hearing Association group).

    • We would also appreciate any personal emails about your experience with this issue or the issue of shortages in your school district (

We know that SLPs are vital to the success of students in school and being fairly compensated for this is something worth fighting for. Although we SLPs are relatively small in number, together we firmly believe we can achieve this!

Katie Thibodeau

Membership Chair

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The SLP Book Club is going strong! Our group includes folks from all across the state and we

are meeting virtually via google meets. It is a wonderful opportunity to ‘hang out’ with fellow SLP

peeps and meet new people. We chat about books, our profession, and life. We do not take

attendance - so you can come and go as it works in your schedule. Our meetings last sixty to

ninety minutes.

The goal of this group is to keep adding new members and get to know one another with the

added bonus of discussing excellent books that deal with communication disorders. So far we

have had great discussions about the following three novels. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, is

the story of a woman whose fast paced family life and career comes to a halt, following a car

accident which leaves her with the loss of awareness of her left side. The Speed of Dark by

Elizabeth Moon, gives us the future-based story of Lou, who needs to decide about taking a

treatment ‘cure’ for his autism. The Diving Bell and The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby is

his wrenching and beautifully written memoir about being trapped in his body following a stroke- with only the ability to communicate through the help of his speech pathologist by blinking one eye.

For our next gathering, we would love new people to consider joining us! We are meeting on

Sunday July 10th at 6:30. The group chose to read another book by author Lisa Genova, Still

Alice. This page-turner gives us insight into the unraveling of the mind due to early-onset

dementia. Grab a copy and start reading. We are also always looking for more

recommendations. What book have you enjoyed that intrigued the SLP side of your mind?

Contact me (Margie Childs) at: to get the link for our meetings. You will be

glad you said YES.

Margie Childs, MSLHA Secretary

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What ASHA Has Been Doing for You

ASHA works as an advocate at both the Federal and State levels to support legislation for

SLP/A practice, funding, research, workplace, and consumers.

ASHA held a State of Affairs Forum in March 2022 to review its work at the Federal level over

the past year and public policy objectives in advocacy for the professions of SLP/A. Objectives

include the areas of health care, schools, professional practice, patient/clients/students, and

diversity/equity/inclusion. For health care, ASHA successfully advocated for successful

reductions of Medicare payment cuts by 7.75% for 2022. ASHA continues to work to have

permanent authority for telepractice while Congress is waiting for updates on utilization, cost,

outcomes, quality, and patient satisfaction. The House passed the Early Hearing Detection and

Intervention Act in 2021 to reauthorize funding for services . For schools and workplace

environments, ASHA is seeking to advocate for increased funding for the Individuals with

Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (currently a $448 million increase for 2022 to $14.5B), higher

education reauthorization via the Higher Education Act in areas of student loan

repayment/forgiveness and employment accountability, increase access to Medicaid funding

and decreased Medicaid paperwork, ensure appropriate workspaces and caseloads, and

decrease disparities in education for students from diverse backgrounds. ASHA is collaborating

with the U.S. Department of Education to develop Teaching Assistant Centers on

Communication Sciences and Disorders, medicaid, telepractice, and workplace Issues. In the

area of Professional Practice ASHA is working to help develop the State Compact (currently 19

states have signed on, none in New England) and works to advocate with State Licensure

Boards regarding licensure language and scope of practice adherence to ASHA standards. For

consumers, ASHA is engaging for education of audiologists and policy-makers regarding over-

the-counter hearing aids, informed access and ongoing licensure standards and Medicaid

enforcement of screenings.

There are several ongoing focused SLP/A practice issues that ASHA is working on. These

include (1) scope of practice infringement between ABA Therapy and SLP services to assure

that SLPs are included in comprehensive assessments prior to service initiation, (2) amendment

of Music Therapist (MT) licensure between ASHA and AMTA (American Music Therapy

Association) to restrict services for MTs with clients with communication disorders, (3) following states which are identifying shortages and passing legislation to recruit and retain SLP/As, (4) securing expansion and permanent provision of telepractice, (5) standards for over-the-counter hearing aids, and (6) the Interstate Licensure Compact.

At the State level, ASHA continues its networking programs with state volunteers for the State

Education Advocacy Leaders (SEALs), State Advocates for Reimbursement (STARs) for

Medicaid and private practice reimbursement, and State Advocates for Medicare Policy

(StAMPs). These programs help ASHA and state regions stay abreast of legislation and policy

issues. State volunteers for each of these programs meet monthly for updates. Maine has a

SEAL liaison, Meg Jackins, CCC-SLP. Maine is in need of both a STAR and a STAMP representative. If interested, please contact one of the MSLHA Executive Council members for

more information.

Alice Smith

MSLHA President

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293 Certification Update from the Department of Education

In the last edition of MSLHA's newsletter, there was an article clarifying that licensed SLPs do not have to hold a 293 certificate to work for a school district in Maine. It is important to note that new information has recently come to the attention of MSLHA regarding this topic.

At this time, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) has decided to eliminate all new 293 certification. This was done without the knowledge of or input from MSLHA. However, if you are an SLP in a school and have a 293, you CAN renew it indefinitely. However, if you let it lapse or have never held one in the past, you cannot obtain a new one. Instead, all SLPs who do not currently have a 293 must be licensed by the Board of Speech, Audiology, and Hearing (BESPA) to work for a school district in Maine just as they do in all other settings. Thankfully, most SLPs who work in schools are already licensed by BESPA, and therefore, this will not affect them.

For additional information on this, please contact your school district representative who manages employee certification or call the Maine DOE at 207-624-6603 or email them at

Katie Thibodeau

MSLHA Membership

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