Meritorious Posters

Friday, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Please spend an hour visiting these posters of distinction that have been selected by members of the Convention Committee to be highlighted during this special session.

Available for up to 0.1 ASHA CEUs.

Application of Ecological Systems Theory on AAC Use

Megan Meneskie, BS; Rachel McGurrin; Hannah Stokes; Salena Babb, PhD; Jessica Caron, PhD, CCC-SLP, from Pennsylvania State University


A family-centered mindset is a familiar concept in the field of speech-language pathology. Understanding the family system is essential, yet families do not exist in isolation. Families function and interact within other contexts, such as their schools, communities and society. Families can also be viewed within an ecological systems model, which emphasizes how families interact with their environment and accordingly adapt to change (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Bronfenbrenner divided the child’s environment into five settings: microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem and the chronosystem. The ecological systems model can guide professionals in considering the range of influences on families and the interactions among the systems for families, including families with children who require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) (Hanson & Lynch, 2013). The microsystem has been identified as the most influential setting (Bronfenbrenner, 1979 ; Mandak et al., 2017) and includes interactions with people on a consistent and regular basis. The aim of this case study is to analyze many microsystem interactions, around one child with cerebral palsy who uses high-tech eye-gaze augmentative and alternative communication. Interviews, questionnaires and observations were used to gain insight across eight different family members and providers (I.e., mom, dad, brother, nurse, grandparents and great-grand parents). Qualitative analysis methods were used to understand the impact of AAC related to caregiver burdens, barriers and benefits of AAC and training needs for success when communicating with an individual who uses AAC. Findings will be shared related to implications for families of individuals who use AAC as well as implications for family-centered service delivery by speech-language pathologists.


Learner Outcomes: At the end of this poster, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the five settings Bronfenbrenner uses in an ecological systems model.
  • Identify three benefits and barriers of AAC use within the microsystem.
  • Discuss three implications for using family-centered service delivery.


Level of Instruction: Introductory

Improving Peer Knowledge and Reactions Toward Children With Hearing Loss

Jordan Brewer, BS; Leah Konsel, BS, from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; Sarah Meier, BS, University of Pittsburgh; Mary Weidner, PhD, CCC-SLP, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; Jennifer Rakers, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh


The Attitude Change and Tolerance Program – Hearing Loss (InterACT–HL) (Brewer, Konsel, Weidner, & Rakers, 2021), is a newly developed educational program aimed to teach young children about hearing loss, hearing amplification devices and communication barriers for individuals with hearing loss. In addition, it provides guidance on helpful versus unhelpful responses when interacting with a person who has hearing loss. The program consists of two puppetry-based videos which feature a young child with bilateral hearing loss. The characters use child friendly language to discuss various aspects of hearing loss. The program can be used in both therapeutic and educational settings. In clinical settings, the program can be used as one tool to encourage children with hearing loss to discuss their own thoughts, emotions and experiences with hearing loss. In educational settings, the program can help typically hearing peers learn about hearing loss and how to be an ally for their peers with hearing loss. Two Edinboro University graduate students in Speech-Language Pathology (Brewer & Konsel), one University of Pittsburgh student in Audiology (Meier), under the supervision of an Edinboro University faculty mentor (Weidner) and speech-language pathologist with specialty in listening and spoken language (Rakers), scripted the program. The final version of the film is currently in production and will be completed by January 2022. The poster presentation will highlight the major themes from the educational program and offer specific suggestions for implementing the program in clinical practice.


Learner Outcomes: At the end of this poster, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the components of InterACT program – Hearing Loss and how it can be used in clinical and educational settings.
  • Discuss the observable characteristics and affective, cognitive and social impact of hearing loss in young children.
  • Describe the importance of peer education as a means to improve social inclusion of children with hearing loss.


Level of Instruction: Introductory

Perceptual Training Affects the Magnitude of Linguistic Release From Masking

Jacqueline M. Albor; Olivia A. Billetdeaux, BS; Annie J. Olmstead, PhD, from Pennsylvania State University


Understanding speech in noisy conditions is a problem faced by all listeners. Previous studies targeting this situation have revealed that a listener understands target speech better when background speech (masker) is in an unfamiliar language. This is called Linguistic Release from Masking (LRM). Other studies have established that listeners improve in understanding difficult speech through exposure. In the current study, we examined whether training on identifying speech in noisy conditions can modulate LRM. In a pre-test/training/post-test design, 60 monolingual speakers of American English transcribed English sentences presented in noisy backgrounds. In the pre-test and post-test, half of the sentences were presented with an English masker and half with a Dutch masker. In the training task, participants were randomly assigned to transcribe the target sentences with either a Dutch, English or white noise masker and received feedback on their performance. Results showed a LRM effect in the pre-test; participants transcribed the target sentences better with a Dutch masker than with an English masker. After training, participants improved in all conditions, but greater improvements in transcribing with an English masker reduced the LRM effect. Reduction of LRM was more prevalent after speech masker training than after noise masker training. Results provide insight related to the informational masking inherent in speech-in-speech recognition. In particular, the implications of these data with respect to attention and task parameters will be discussed. This study serves as a basis for future research examining improvement for speech in speech recognition and changes in LRM.

Learner Outcomes: At the end of this poster, participants will be able to:

  • Define Linguistic Release from Masking.
  • Identify perceptual learning for speech.
  • Explain the effect of perceptual training on Linguistic Release from Masking.


Level of Instruction: Introductory

Promoting Voice and Voice-Related Quality of Life in Older Adulthood

Megan Stradtman, MS, CCC-SLP, The Pennsylvania State University


Voice problems related to the aging process are common in older adulthood and can negatively impact communication effectiveness and quality of life. This poster presentation introduces presbyphonia or age-related voice dysfunction, as a part of a spectrum of age-related voice changes. The presentation also identifies gaps in research and challenges in clinical practice, including a lack of evidence-based preventive interventions and limited uptake of and adherence to existing voice therapy options. Finally, the presentation suggests new avenues of research and clinical practice to support an overarching aim of reducing presbyphonia prevalence and impact on quality of life in older adults. Primary goals include preventing or delaying the onset of presbyphonia, improving vocal function and voice-related quality of life for people with presbyphonia and reducing presbyphonia-related health disparities. The presentation will emphasize the importance of exploring novel methods of promoting vocal function in older adulthood, including voice use through leisure, that may offer improved access and adherence compared to conventional voice therapy.


Learner Outcomes: At the end of this poster, participants will be able to:

  • Describe presbyphonia etiology and potential symptoms.
  • Identify at least three potential barriers to voice therapy uptake and adherence in older adults with presbyphonia.
  • State at least three potential means of improving identification and/or treatment of older adults with presbyphonia.


Level of Instruction: Introductory

Stuttering: Part of Me, Voices of Females Who Stutter

Megan Chapin, BS; Adele Chiasson, BA; Allison Merkel, BA; Craig Coleman, MA, CCC-SLP; Mary Weidner, PhD, CCC-SLP, from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania


Stuttering: Part of Me, Voices of Females Who Stutter (Chapin, Chiasson, Merkel, Coleman, & Weidner, 2021), is a new documentary that highlights personal stories of women who stutter. It is intended to be used in therapeutic and educational settings. In the clinical setting, this video can be used as a springboard to discuss clients’ own thoughts, emotions and experiences with their stuttering. In an educational setting, this video can serve as a tool to improve non-stutterers’ understanding about stuttering and sensitivity toward people who stutter. Four females with childhood-onset stuttering, ages 11, 11, 25 and 26, participated in the documentary. Three graduate student clinicians (first, second and third authors), under the supervision of two faculty mentors (4th and 5th authors), carried out semi- structured interviews with each participant. The interviews highlighted the challenges and triumphs that participants faced in their stuttering journey. This documentary can be used to provide girls and women who stutter a way to view the experiences of other girls and women who stutter. Stuttering: Part of Me, Voices of Females Who Stutter can also be used as an educational tool for children and the peers of all people who stutter. The final 22-minute documentary was released in June 2021 and is freely available on YouTube. The poster presentation will highlight the major themes from the documentary and offer specific suggestions for use in clinical practice.


Learner Outcomes: At the end of this poster, participants will be able to:

  • Identify common and unique experiences of girls and women who stutter.
  • Gain awareness of a clinical and/or educational resource tailored for girls and women who stutter.
  • Discuss the clinical utility of this documentary for people who stutter as well as people who do not stutter.


Level of Instruction: Introductory

Treatment Outcomes of Individuals With Laryngectomies: Provider Identified Facilitators and Barriers

Gretchen Frank, BS; Elizabeth Grillo, PhD, CCC-SLP, from West Chester University of Pennsylvania


Laryngectomies are the standard of care for various forms of advanced laryngeal cancer (Galli et al., 2019). Literature has consistently reported reduced quality of life (QoL) in individuals with laryngectomies (IWLs) with regard to several aspects including voice handicap and various psychosocial factors (Evitts et al., 2011). Effective voice rehabilitation is one critical component to improving QoL for patients who have undergone laryngectomies. Various means of alaryngeal speech (esophageal speech [ES], electrolaryngeal speech [ELS] and tracheoesophageal speech [TES]) exist with the aim of restoring speech in patients who have undergone laryngectomies (van Sluis et al., 2017). IWLs reported a decreased perception of post-laryngectomy social disability with TES as opposed to ES or ELS. Existing literature on the topic of post-laryngectomy QoL outcomes focuses primarily on subjective patient outcomes. Limited information is available on provider perspectives regarding what factors providers identify as contributing to successful treatment outcomes. Obtaining provider perspectives on which factors contribute to successful outcomes in IWLs can provide a more holistic understanding of what factors influence treatment recommendations for IWLs. The purpose of this project is to obtain provider-identified facilitators and limitations of patient outcomes in IWLs. To achieve the aim of this study, providers who treat individuals with laryngectomies (i.e., laryngologists, head and neck surgeons, speech-language pathologists, advanced practice providers) will complete a short Qualtrics survey and participate in an interview via Zoom video conferencing. Distribution of provider responses on the survey will be discussed in comparison with the themes identified from the interview transcripts.


Learner Outcomes: At the end of this poster, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the methodology used in the study.
  • List the major findings of the study.
  • Explain clinical implications from the results of the study.


Level of Instruction: Introductory