Bilingual Symposium – 2015

Bilingual Therapies celebrated a significant milestone this year as it hosted their 15th annual Bilingual Symposium in beautiful St. Maarten. The symposium was held at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa, which is nestled along a pristine hillside beach. Symposium attendees found time after their sessions to catch some sun, shop, dance and dine on both the Dutch and French sides of the island.

Symposium Welcome Reception

This year the Symposium celebrated its 15th year with a reception by the ocean side pool.  The ocean greeted the attendees and their guests with a cool breeze and rhythmic soundtrack.  Nate Cornish welcomed attendees and provided them with a retrospective of the Symposium.  Over the last 15 years the symposium has connected practitioners with best practices in the field of bilingual speech and language pathology. The cocktail reception continued with guests socializing with new and past attendees.

Friday Sessions

Dr. Nidhi Mahendra opened the conference with her Keynote address, “Bilingualism across the Lifespan:  Time to Redefine Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology”. Dr. Mahendra’s keynote energized the attendees and was the perfect start to the Symposium.  She addressed the relationship between culture and language and how SLPs can continue to help transform our profession to better serve bilingual clients.

After a brief break, participants joined Dr. Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird for her presentation, “Clinical Decision-Making for Bilingual Individuals with Cognitive and Severe Language Impairments.” Dr. Kay-Raining Bird presented case-studies to answers questions regarding assessment and intervention of bilingual children with cognitive and language impairments.

After the morning session, many participants enjoyed a yummy lunch at the hotel restaurant. Other participants had lunch at the pool or on the beach and continued to soak in the sunshine.

After lunch, the group then listened to Dr. Giang Pham’s presentation on “The Role of Cross-Language Transfer in Bilingual Intervention”.  This presentation focused on how languages interact in dual language learners with disabilities and how this can be applied to intervention and target selection.

After the session, participants left for the day to explore the Dutch and French sides of the island for sightseeing and dinner.

Saturday Sessions

Saturday morning started with a dynamic workshop by Dr. Pham entitled “How to Support Growth In Children’s Two Languages when the SLP Does Not Speak the Home Language”.  The attendees were excited to discuss methods for supporting the child’s home language and promote bilingual language development.

The participants participated in a session with Dr. Kay-Raining Bird.  She presented on a topic which was highly needed by attendees, “Narrative Assessment with Dual-Language Users”.  Dr. Kay-Raining Bird described in detail micro- and micro-structural narrative analyses.  Case studies were used to illustrate how to interpret assessment results.

In the afternoon, Dr. Mahendra presented “Bilingualism and Neurogenic Language Disorders: Connecting Communities to Clinical Services”.  This session delved into what we know about multiculturalism and how it impacts our access to health care.  Attendees looked at the challenges that bilingual and bicultural clients face and how it leads to health care disparities.

After the 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.

2016 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.  Friends of Bilingual Therapies participated in the guessing game.  Out of those who guessed correctly, five lucky individuals were chosen to receive $200 off their 2016 registration to… Los Cabos!   Bilingual Therapies is excited to be returning to the relaxing waters of Los Cabos and we hope to see you at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Los Cabos, Mexico on July 14 – 17, 2016.