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OASIS Conference

October 21, 2011

 9am, October 1, 2011. Corbett Hall corridors’ were alive with an energized chatter as over 230 undergraduate and graduate students gave up their Saturday for the opportunity to attend the annual OASIS Conference. The Organization of Alberta Students in Speech (OASIS) Conference coordinated by Speech-Language Pathology students at the University of Alberta, features speakers and sessions from the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology. This year’s conference welcomed a record-breaking number of registrants, with attendee’s coming from institutions across Alberta and Saskatchewan. With featured guests including Speech-Language Pathologists from the community, parents of children who receive services, and the CASLPA student representative, Melanie Moore, it was no wonder this year’s conference created such a buzz!

The overarching goal of the OASIS conference is to provide professional development for graduate students in the Speech Pathology and Audiology program by exposing them to clinically relevant information to supplement their academic program as well as providing opportunities for students to make professional contacts. The conference also provides information to undergraduate students interested in the Speech Pathology and Audiology program, or in the process of applying to the program, thus fostering interest, education and awareness of the department. This year’s conference also featured booths for attendees to visit during breaks to gain more knowledge about the profession and to network with organizations looking for volunteers. Organizations that shared booths at the conference included ABC Head Start, ACSLPA, CASLPA, the Center for Autism Services Alberta, Grant MacEwan Speech-Language Pathology Assistant program, the Institute for Reconstructive Science in Medicine (iRSM), the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR), and Neighborhood Chat. We are thankful that these organizations took time out of their weekend to be part of the conference and network with post-secondary students.

This year’s conference included a keynote address titled “The Many Faces of Pediatric Brain Injury” by Kathy Logan-deChavez, a Speech-Language Pathologist at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. Other session topics throughout the day included cleft lip and palate with Carrie Goetzke, Parkinson Disease and singing therapy with Merrill Tanner, Childhood Apraxia of Speech with Dr. Megan Hodge, dysphagia and oral care with Dr. Minn Yoon, cochlear implants: a patient perspective with Dr. Melanie Campbell and a current client, as well as how to apply to the speech pathology program at the University of Alberta with Vicki Trombley, Alaina Smith, and Christina Semonick.

Over the lunch hour, a parent perspectives panel was held where three different families, with each family having a child with special needs, discussed the role and impact that speech-language pathologists have in their life, and contrasted urban and rural access to services. This session is always a highlight of the conference as it revitalizes graduate students in the reason they are becoming speech-language pathologists and inspires undergraduate students to pursue this rewarding and life changing profession.

– Adapted and quoted from the 2011 OASIS Conference Committee: Alaina Smith, Christina Semonick, Marisa Jans, Kayla Reibeling, Ashley Waito, and Eleni Varelas 

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Photography by Aryn Franklin

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