Bilingual Symposium – 2014

The Hilton New Orleans, St. Charles Avenue, July 17-20th, 2014

Bilingual Therapies was excited to host their 14th annual Bilingual Symposium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The symposium was held at the Hilton New Orleans-St. Charles Avenue, a historic landmark building in the heart of downtown. Symposium attendees were a quick walk away from the French Quarter and spent time after their sessions enjoying all the Big Easy had to offer.

Bilingual U

This year we not only had new members of the Bilingual Therapies team participate in Bilingual U, but we also had a bilingual clinician from Canada join us. The attendees arrived two days before the Symposium to learn more about the dynamics of being a bilingual speech-language pathologist. Co-Clinical Directors, Nate Cornish and Melissa White provided the training. The clinicians were had great questions and were dynamic participants throughout the two days. The clinicians had a great time together on Wednesday night and we all enjoyed a delicious taco lunch at La Casita on Thursday.

Symposium Welcome Reception

This year the Symposium was kicked off in true NOLA style with a cocktail reception at the Hilton’s Chapel.  Attendees were greeted with Mardi Gras beads and masquerade masks on Thursday evening.  Melissa White welcomed attendees and their guests.  Everyone had a great time meeting the presenters and socializing.

Friday Sessions

Dr. Luís Riquelme opened the conference with his Keynote address, “Cultural Sensitivity and Practice: Aiming for the Right Balance”. Dr. Riquelme’s keynote was the perfect start to the Symposium and set the tone for the symposium.  He addressed how we define and view culture and how that impacts our assessment and intervention practices.

After a brief break, participants divided into their break-out groups. Half of the attendees joined Dr. Betty Yu for her presentation, “Bilingual Development in Children on the Autism Spectrum from Minority-Language Families: Current Research and Implications for Clinical Practice.” Dr. Yu presented a comparison of outcomes for bilingual and monolingual children with ASD.  She used snippets of ethnographic interviews and videos to highlight issues that impact language choice among minority-language families.

The other group of participants spent the morning with Dr. Raúl Rojas, who presented on, “Informal” Assessment for Bilingual Clients and Use of Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT).”  Dr. Rojas discussed the importance of language sampling and emphasized that it can be data driven.  He discussed the clinical applications for analyzing narrative samples using SALT.  Attendees broke up into small groups and used laptops to practice transcribing and running a variety of analysis tasks.

After the morning sessions, many participants enjoyed lunch in the hotel at renowned celebrity chef John Besh’s restaurant Lüke.  Other participants enjoyed Po’ Boys and traditional New Orleans fare at restaurants around the hotel.

After lunch, the group that listened to Dr. Yu returned to listen to Dr. Rojas presentation.  The other group participated in Dr. Riquelme and Alexandra Heinsen-Combs’ presentation on “Cultural Considerations in Dysphagia Practice: Getting the Right Mix”.  Both speakers focused on the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity when working with clients who have feeding disorders.  The attendees watched a thought provoking video and later discussed the act of eating through a cultural lens.

After the sessions, participants left for the day to catch a great bite to eat and enjoy some quick sightseeing.

Saturday Sessions

Saturday morning started with an interactive workshop by Nate Cornish and Melissa White “The Role of Bilingual Clinicians in Educating Related Professionals and Families”. Nate and Melissa outlined how Bilingual SLPs can take advantage of both formal and informal educational opportunities in the workplace.   Participants received ideas, strategies and resources for sharing information with a variety of professionals.

The participants then spent the morning and afternoon in breakout sessions. The participants met in their groups again to hear the presentations that they did not see the previous day. They also participated in a session with Dr. Joanne Urrutia.  She presented on a topic which was highly requested by past attendees, “Common Core State Standards (CCSS): Instructional Practice Implications for English Learners”.  Dr. Urrutia provided an overview of the standards and how bilingual SLPs can promote and support language development through the CCSS.

Once the afternoon breakout sessions were completed, participants met all together as a large group for the closing session and roundtable. All of the presenters participated on a panel and answered questions about a variety of topics including language of assessment and intervention.  It was a way to bring together the information that was presented throughout the Symposium. Co-Clinical Directors, Nate Cornish and Melissa White, moderated the session and afterwards took a moment to thank everyone involved.

2015 Symposium

Every year, Bilingual Therapies holds a guessing game to figure out the location of the upcoming Symposium location. Throughout the conference, participants received challenging clues via Facebook and Twitter.  This year, friends of Bilingual Therapies could participate in the guessing game.  Out of those who guessed correctly, five lucky individuals were chosen to receive $200 off their 2015 registration to St. Maarten!   This is a new location for us and we can’t wait to have fun in the sun at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa in St. Maarten on July 16 – 19, 2015.