Bilingual Symposium – 2010

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, July 15-17th, 2010

Bilingual Therapies celebrated its 10th annual Bilingual Symposium Latin style; ancient Latin that is. This year the Symposium was held among the Roman pillars, statues and fountains of Caesar’s Palace in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. Participants enjoyed hearing from dynamic speakers and making new friends with other communication professionals who are interested in bilingualism.

Bilingual U

We began the week by welcoming our new clinician members of the Bilingual Therapies family at the annual Bilingual U training. This training took place the two days preceding the Symposium. Nate Cornish, director of clinical services, and Sofía Carías, team leader, provided information on the dynamics of bilingualism in working with individuals with communicative impairments. The new clinicians also experienced team-building exercises and spent time creating friendships with their new colleagues.

Symposium Welcome Reception

Bilingual Therapies then welcomed our guests with the customary cocktail party on Thursday evening. This event was a great opportunity for staff, presenters and participants to get to know one another before “hitting the books” together over the next two days. Caesars Palace provided a wonderful setting for this event, including delectable treats such as beef empanadas with cilantro lime cream sauce and a tasty dessert.

Friday Sessions

Luis Riquelme energized participants first thing in the morning with his keynote address, “Abriendo Puertas: The Changing Face of Latinos in the United States.”  Riquelme described the diversity of Latinos and some breakthroughs and challenges faced by the community.  He also encouraged participants to think of three questions, “Who has opened doors for you?  Who have I opened doors for? Who will I open doors for?”  Riquelme’s dynamism got attendees excited about their roles as bilingual practitioners and his message framed the purpose of the learning that would take place throughout the rest of the conference.

Attendees enjoyed a quick break before heading into morning breakout sessions. Presenters in the AM included Dr. José G. Centeno and Melissa White.  Centeno offered the Bilingual Symposium’s first ever session directed exclusively at the adult bilingual population.  Speaking on, “Serving Bilingual Patients with Aphasia: Conceptual Bases to Meet Clinical Needs,” Centeno provided information that was interesting to medical and school-based practitioners alike.  White drew on her extensive clinical and supervisory experience on the topic to discuss “Implementing an Effective Response to Intervention (RtI) Program for CLD/ELL Children.”

At lunch, “Sin City” took its nickname seriously as it offered a variety of dietary misdeeds such as Extravagance, (Crêpes aux Épinards et Fromage at the Payard Pâtisserie), Greed, (Sixteen Spice Crusted Chicken at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill), and Gluttony, (second and third helpings at the Lago Buffet).  Fortunately, all the attendees overcame any post-lunchtime Sloth and made it back for the afternoon sessions.  And were they glad they did!  Attorney-turned-SLP, Dr. Cate Crowley energetically discussed, “Putting the Pieces Together: Assessment Based in Evidence and the Law.”  Dr. Ovetta Harris also presented on, “Best Practices in Language and Literacy Treatment and Assessment of Bilingual Children who use AAC,” and provided some powerful insight into the experience of these individuals.

After the regular sessions were over for the day, guests had the opportunity to take place in an “extra-curricular” session- Bilingual Therapies’ first every “Make and Take.”  Dr. Henriette Langdon from San José State University, team leader Sandra Márquez and Nate Cornish lead an informal discussion and shared ideas for creating and adapting materials for bilingual children.

Saturday Sessions

Saturday morning and afternoon, guests met again in their breakout groups to participate in the presentations they didn’t hear on Friday. After completing those sessions, Luis Riquelme moderated the Round-Table forum, which was the final session of the Symposium. For one hour, attendees had the opportunity to ask additional questions of presenters and of each other, providing an integrated discussion on the body of the information made available throughout the Symposium. Riquelme and other presenters there encouraged participants to take the things that they had learned to continue “abriendo puertas,” opening doors for themselves and others.

2011 Symposium

Throughout this year’s Symposium, participants had the opportunity to play a guessing game for the location of the 2011 Symposium.  Despite scratching their heads for two days at clues like, “A Plus-Sized Archipelago” (Greater Antilles), a number of guests correctly determined the location.  Five of them were selected in a drawing for reduced registration to the event.  And what did those successful game players figure out?  Before everyone said their goodbyes, Bilingual Therapies revealed that we will be returning to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico!   We will be thrilled to welcome everyone back to the Ritz-Carlton, San Juan Hotel, Resort and Casino on July 21 – 23 in 2011.  We hope to see you there!