2014 ASHA Convention!

We had so, so, so much fun at the 2014 ASHA Convention! We spent the week meeting new friends (and catching up with plenty of old ones!), listening in on some great presentations and poster sessions, and networking with some great students and clinicians. Of course, we enjoyed every bit of the Florida sunshine, too. Time flew by! Check out some of our ASHA14 snapshots below!

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ASHA 2014 is here!

Orlando, here we come! We can’t believe the 2014 ASHA Convention is upon us. We’ve been packing our bags, running through last minute checklists, and checking our weather apps to make sure Florida still reports sunny and warm. Tomorrow we take flight for our favorite event of the year! To say we are excited would be an understatement.

As always, we can’t wait to see friends old (we’ve been looking through last year’s School Spirit Challenge!) and new, gather some fun goodies, and explore and celebrate this year’s theme, “Science. Learning. Practice. Generations of Discovery.” This year will be very special with a keynote presentation by the Belafonte family on passing down a passion for social activism through the generations. We can’t think of a better way to begin a week of learning and fellowship than with an inspiring presentation from three extraordinary activists.

Met some great students last year (from so many places!). Can't wait for Florida! #asha #asha14 #slpeeps

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After the keynote presentation and throughout the convention, we invite you to stop by our booths in the exhibit hall (1145) and career fair (979). Staff members at both booths will be available to tell you more about career opportunities with LinguaHealth, including our Bilingual Immersion Program. Also, Sara will be conducting interviews all day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Email Sara at sarap@linguahealth.com to schedule your interview today!

We hope you are all as excited as we are for the 2014 ASHA Convention. See you there!

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Common Core – Where to begin this discussion?

Dr. Brenda K. Gorman, Contributing Author

In the language and literacy course I am teaching, we are currently discussing the Common Core standards and the implications of these standards for speech-language pathologists.  It is a fascinating discussion.  It was a hot topic at the recent ASHA Schools Conference in Pittsburg, and a number of presentations on the topic will be shared at the upcoming ASHA Convention in Orlando.

I have shared SLPs’ professional interest in the Common Core standards since they were introduced.  Over the last several months, I have been hearing more and more parent perspectives, which have also been interesting, to say the least.  Where I live, the mention of Common Core elicits either positive or extremely negative comments from parents.  A few of my students were already aware of this controversy and had a lot to share in our discussion.

There are critics who are indicating that they want the Common Core “curriculum” abolished.  I have heard from some parents who are ready to pull their children from their current school and are seeking out other schools that do not implement this “curriculum.”  Relative to the reading standards, I have read various comments indicating that the standards call for bypassing the teaching of building blocks for reading, including phonics and phonological awareness, and jumping to the expectation that children read full texts as early as Kindergarten.  For mathematics, I have heard some people indicate that the standards call for bypassing the teaching of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables, and instead moving directly to the types of problem-solving tasks that are commonly appear in social media and You Tube videos.

As an educator and as a parent with children whose education is impacted by these standards, naturally, I have been concerned by many of these claims.  However, upon hearing or reading them, I go directly to the source and re-read the standards; to my relief, I am generally unable to find evidence in the standards to support such claims.

So, what’s going on?  It seems clear that there a many misconceptions and myths out there, and we as SLPs should be aware of them so that we can understand and better support the families we serve.  Perhaps the most common misconception is that the Common Core is a curriculum that tells teachers what and how to teach.  The standards, however, clearly indicate that Common Core is not a curriculum.  Rather, they are a set of goals.  These goals can be addressed within the curriculum that teachers and schools choose to implement.   Therefore, we may be able to help parents understand the difference between the standards and a curriculum, which guides implementation.  There seem to be dramatic differences between schools’ and districts’ curricula and implementation, with schools addressing the Common Core standards in different manners.  Importantly, most of the specific examples of parents’ concerns that I am hearing point to problems with implementation and high-stakes standardized testing, not the standards themselves.

As crazy as it may seem, I recently thought about this topic while eating Brussels sprouts after having read a social media thread.  My husband usually hates them, but for whatever reason, he decided to buy them and prepare a Brussels sprout salad using a new recipe.  The salad was incredibly delicious!  I couldn’t help but think that the Brussels sprouts reminded me of the standards; healthy or not, it’s the preparation, in other words, the curriculum and implementation, that makes the Brussels sprouts palatable or not.

Indeed, we do have to figure out how to make the standards palatable, how to make them “work” for our children.  Clearly, the standards aim very high, and they will be very challenging for our students with speech-language impairments.  Upon examination of not only the reading standards, but also the math standards, you can see that successful achievement will demand strong language skills.  Therefore, I think that speech-language pathologists have a tremendous role in ensuring the standards are targeted appropriately and successfully.  I also think that educators and administrators will continue to see the importance of our role as language experts in the achievement of these standards.

It is important for us to understand parent perspectives and to help provide accurate information about the standards and what they mean for their children.  If parents still do not favor the standards after clarifying misconceptions, that’s certainly their prerogative.  It is important for us to let families know that our role is to help their children succeed and to make the standards “work” for rather than against their children.

So while there is certainly more to be said, this is where I have begun our discussion of Common Core.  I am looking forward to the ASHA Convention and learning more about the topic.  If you are unable to attend, I would like to share that I am half-way through what I am finding to be an excellent, very insightful book: Pathways to the Common Core, written by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman.  If you are looking for a good read on this topic, I am learning a great deal from this book and will share some of their insights in an upcoming post.

Pathways to the Common Core

Cozy up with some good reads

Dr. Brenda K. Gorman, Contributing Author

Hello everyone. I hope you’ve been enjoying the beautiful autumn and rustling leaves. Rustling, hustling, bustling – it’s been very busy around here preparing for multiple local area presentations and the upcoming ASHA convention on the topic of dual language learners (DLLs).  I’ve also been receiving many requests for recommended reading resources on the topic of DLLs, even a couple from physicians!  The interest is very encouraging, so I would like to share some of my favorite resources below.  As it’s getting a bit chillier, you might want to cozy up with some good reads.

Assessment Resources

Pearson, B. Z., Fernandez, S. C., & Oller, D. K. (1993). Lexical development in bilingual infants and toddlers: Comparison to monolingual norms. Language Learning, 43(1), 93-120.

Peña, E.D., Gillam, R.B., Bedore, L.M., & Bohman, T.M. (2011). Risk for poor performance on a language screening measure for bilingual preschoolers and kindergartenersAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20, 302-314. Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Simón-Cereijido, G., & Gutiérrez-Clellen, V. (2009). A cross-linguistic and bilingual evaluation of the interdependence between lexical and grammatical domains. Applied Psycholinguistics, 30, 315-337.

Williams, C.J., & McLeod, S. (2012). Speech-language pathologists’ assessment and intervention practices with multilingual children. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14(3), 292-305.

Intervention Resources

Gorman, B.K., Brice, A.E., & Berman, S. (2012). Reading acquisition program for Spanish-speakers. Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, 19, 49-57.

Lugo-Neris, M. J., Jackson, C. W., & Goldstein, H. (2010). Facilitating vocabulary acquisition of young English language learners. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 41(3), 314–327.

Perozzi, J. A., & Chavez Sanchez, M. L. (1992). The effect of instruction in L1 on receptive acquisition of L2 for bilingual children with language delay. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 23, 348–352.

Ulanoff, S. H., & Pucci, S. L. (1999). Learning words from books: The effects of read aloud on second language vocabulary acquisition. Bilingual Research Journal, 23(4), 319-332.

DLLs with Special Needs

Hambly, C., & Fombonne, E. The impact of bilingual environments on language development in children with Autism Spectrum DisordersJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Online First, 22 September 2011). Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Kay-Raining Bird, E., Cleave, P., Trudeau, N., Thordardottir, E., Sutton, A., & Thorpe, A. (2005). The language abilities of bilingual children with Down syndrome. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14, 187–199.  Explores the capacity of Down syndrome children to acquire more than one language. This research is noted by Dr. Brenda Gorman in the Grupo Lingua YouTube video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Kohnert, K., Yim, D., Nett, K., Kan, P. F., & Duran, L. (2005). Intervention with linguistically diverse preschool children: A focus on developing home language(s)Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 36, 251-263. Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Petersen, J.M., Marinova-Todd, S.H., & Mirenda, P. Brief report: An exploratory study of lexical skills in bilingual children with Autism Spectrum DisorderJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, (Online First, 27 September 2011). Supporting video: Can Special Needs Kids Be Bilingual?

Bilingual Children and Educational Issues

Age of First Bilingual Language Exposure as a New Window into Bilingual Reading Development, Kovelman

Menken, K., & Antunez, B. (2001). An overview of the preparation and certification of teachers working with limited English proficient students. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse of Bilingual Education.

Rolstad, K., Mahoney, K., & Glass, G. V. (2005). The big picture: A meta-analysis of program effectiveness research on English Language Learners. Educational Policy, 19(4), 572-594.

Slavin, R. E., & Cheung, A. (2003).  Effective reading programs for English language learners: A best-evidence synthesis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk (CRESPAR).

Compilation of articles, journals and publications regarding bilingualism effects on cognitive development and language acquisition and development

Bailystok’s research is referenced by Dr. Brenda Gorman in Grupo Lingua’s YouTube video “Myths about Bilingual Children”. Bialystok-references come from a compilation of sources of her work in this area.

Multiple articles addressing bilingualism from the Center for Applied Linguistics

Happy Halloween!

Is it Wednesday? It is Wednesday! Whew, this week is flying by. To be fair, we’ve been pretty busy; we’re preparing for the 2014 ASHA convention (see last week’s postand getting ready to move offices (details to come!). BUT, we did take a little time out of our week to partake in a classic Halloween ritual. Check out our Chicago Skyline Pumpkin! Happy trick-or-treating everyone!

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