Online Training for CSD Professionals

by Shelley Ardonne

This fall, two CSD faculty members offered continuing education courses in a virtual format. Dr. Deborah Moncrieff held an online training series on how to diagnose and treat amblyaudia, a type of auditory processing problem. Prof. Vicki Haddix offered an independent study on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Both courses were designed for professionals already working in the field. Audiologists participated in the sessions on amblyaudia and speech language pathologists (SLPs) and certified teachers were the target audience of the AAC training. By offering these courses in an online format, Dr. Moncrieff and Prof. Haddix were able to give a wider audience access to their clinical expertise. 

Prior to this year, information about amblyaudia and its treatment with Auditory Rehabilitation for Interaural Asymmetry (ARIA) was only offered in person at conferences. This spring, Dr. Moncrieff was invited to present on amblyaudia and ARIA for the FedEx Institute webinar series and to her surprise, 89 people from around the world registered to watch her presentation. She realized that people were interested in online training and wanted more information about amblyaudia and ARIA than was given in the one-hour talk. In response, she developed an online course comprised of five 90-minute live presentations that were attended by clinicians in North and South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  Dr. Moncrieff noted several advantages over in-person presentations, notably that “everyone who paid for the series was very interested in the topic whereas at conventions, you sometimes have people come into a talk by mistake and others who are interested in your talk are caught between several interesting options being presented at the same time.” She further noted that, “with online presentations, participants could login live or watch the recorded presentation at their own time and with recordings, a participant can rewind to see and hear something more than once to be sure they received the information.”  Just as in live conventions, all registered participants were eligible for CEU credits from ASHA. 

Dr. Deborah Moncrieff

Dr. Deborah Moncrieff

Vicki Haddix is an SLP clinical associate professor in the Memphis Speech & Hearing Center. She offers an AAC course for CSD graduate students along with a graduate certificate in AAC and regularly presents on AAC topics at conferences. Ms. Haddix created an online coaching model for her training after receiving weekly emails from area SLPs who wanted to know if her AAC course or the AAC graduate certificate could be completed online. The online training series included 10 hours of content that was offered over eight to ten weeks. 

Vicki Haddix

Vicki Haddix

The current model includes asynchronous study and individualized coaching that are customized for the SLP’s areas of interest. Participants are awarded continuing education credit upon completion of the course work.  Interested SLPs and/or certified teachers can email Vicki Haddix for more information on the course and a registration code. Emily Pierce, a recent MA grad and AAC participant, shared the following about her experience:

The mentorship program has proven to be a wonderful resource for gaining information regarding AAC evaluations, AAC therapy, and parent coaching. Having a place to talk through clinical scenarios with an experienced AAC therapist has allowed me to grow as a clinician and feel confident in my AAC implementation.

By offering virtual training, Dr. Moncrieff and Ms. Haddix have been able to expand their audiences beyond the Memphis area. Thanks to their work, ARIA and AAC trainings are becoming more accessible to professionals. As a result, clinicians will be able to provide treatment that children need, and their patients will experience improved academic and linguistic outcomes. 

Thank you to Ms. JoClaire Merrill, clinical associate professor, for all of her work administrating ASHA CEU’s for participants in these trainings.

Thank you to Dr. Moncrieff and Prof. Haddix for discussing their latest developments in ARIA and AAC training with me!

Additional sources: Moncrieff, D., & Taylor, J. P. (2021). Diagnosing Amblyaudia and Treating it with ARIA. FedEx Institute of Technology Webinar.