The Bureau Valley Speech and Language Department attended the National American Speech Language Hearing Association Conference in Washington D.C.
This conference provided the SLP team a chance to learn and gain experience in areas affecting the field nationally. The ESSER grant provided the funds for the team to be able to attend and the experience was valuable.
There were sessions on executive functioning, trauma in school age children, burnout in school based SLPs, articulation, phonology and pediatric TBI. The sessions focusing on trauma and executive functioning were well attended, which made it evident SLPs across the country are experiencing similar issues. The team returned energized and ready to incorporate new knowledge into treatment plans.
Linnea Anderson Guither’s favorite session was “Creating Confidence: Reframe your thinking and discover their superpowers.” The session started with pointing out students who need speech and language services, spend a lot of time hearing what they do wrong, not always what they do right. These students are at a higher risk for bullying and self-confidence issues. The session then provided some practical ways to incorporate self awareness and confidence into speech and language sessions. Having students set big goals for themselves and helping them meet them is a huge part of this and the team will be making some “big goals” for the rest of the school year.
Anna Zander’s favorite session was “Will My Child Ever Speak? Examining Autism Using a Functional Developmental Level Lens.” She learned about the steps that should be taken before focusing on speech and language. She learned about climbing the “language mountain” and about how the child has to have shared attention and self-regulation and be able to engage and relate with others before having two-way conversations. Starting at the bottom of the “language mountain” is the only way to build functional communication. She learned she needs to start doing more child-directed therapy activities in order to get them to want to communicate/engage with her. The key is to make social interactions fun and acknowledge any nonverbal communication attempts as well, even if she is trying to elicit verbal speech.
Jessica Chaney said: “There were so many great take-aways from the ASHA Convention. The sessions were well selected and very relevant to what SLPs are seeing in the schools. Being in our second unprecedented school year and seeing the effects that a global pandemic and family stress are having on students and staff, I honestly believe that the most important thing for me has been the timing. In a year where we are experiencing so many new difficulties and seeing students with needs that we haven’t seen before, to have other SLPs from all over the U.S. say that they’re seeing the same thing and that they have already been researching the topics and have practical solutions for some of those needs is so valuable.”