Bilingual Symposium – 2016

The 16th annual Bilingual Symposium returned to sunny Los Cabos, Mexico.  Bilingual Therapies was excited to come back to this beautiful beach town in the southernmost tip of Baja California.  The symposium was held at the oceanfront Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort.  The hacienda style resort set the mood for relaxation and rejuvenation.  Many attendees found time to relax at the beach or at one of the five pools at the resort.  They also ventured to the marina in Cabo San Lucas and cruised along the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean on water taxis or dinner cruises.

Symposium Welcome Reception

With the Sea of Cortez in the background, attendees were greeted to the cocktail reception at the palapa.  Guests reconnected with previous attendees and presenters while enjoying the view.  Nate Cornish welcomed everyone with a message of reflection and a look toward the future of bilingual speech and language pathology.  He called on the SLPs to continue to advocate for the needs of the bilingual clients and families we serve.  Attendees also received a sneak peek of the 1st clue of the “¿A Dónde Vamos?” game to guess where the symposium will be heading for 2017.  The reception continued with guests socializing and networking well into the night.

Friday Sessions

Melissa White welcomed attendees and introduced returning speaker, Dr. Maria Muñoz.  She kicked off the 2016 Bilingual Symposium with her keynote session “Evidence-Based Practice: Analyzing Evidence and Applying It to Clinical Practice”.  Dr. Muñoz’ keynote set the tone for the symposium which focused on best practices in intervention with culturally and linguistically diverse populations

After a brief break, Dr. Muñoz continued with her session on “Intervention for Bilingual Adolescents and Adults with Acquired Brain Injury”.  A framework for applying evidence practice when selecting and implementing intervention was discussed.

After her session, the participants had time to enjoy lunch around the resort.  Many were spotted poolside at the “Sirena” restaurant, while others took advantage and soaked up some sun in the pool.

Participants met back after lunch to participate in Dr. Ellen Kester’s session titled “Effective Language Intervention with Students from Diverse Backgrounds”.  Dr. Kester provided participants with hands-on intervention approaches to use with students from a variety of cultural and language backgrounds.  She provided examples of how to select goals that make immediate impacts on functional communication.

At the end of her session, attendees compared notes to see if they were answering clue questions correctly.  They then went on to have dinner either at the resort or at the marina.  Many had time to take a water taxi to see the famous “Arcos”.

Saturday Sessions

The next morning, attendees started with a workshop presented by Bilingual Therapies Lone Star team leader, Liza Sanchez.  Her presentation, “Developing Appropriate Speech and Language Goals for Bilingual Learners” reviewed the SMAART goal model and discussed how to modify it to meet the needs of bilingual school age children.

After the workshop, Dr. Leah Fabiano-Smith continued with her presentation, “Phonological Intervention with Bilingual Children: A Complexity Approach”.  Dr. Fabiano-Smith challenged SLPs to rethink the way that they treat phonological disorders and reviewed current research on the complexity approach.  She also presented the PATT documentation form to help SLPs select targets using the complexity approach.

Later that afternoon, Dr. Carol Scheffner-Hammar presented on “Promoting the Language Abilities of Young Bilingual Children”.  Her session focused on the prior knowledge that young bilingual children bring to the therapy room and how SLPs can capitalize on it.  She reviewed the principles of culturally responsive intervention and provided examples of literacy activities.

The symposium ended with a roundtable discussion moderated by Melissa and Nate.  In this “Ask the Expert” type of format, the audience asked the presenters a variety of questions based on the topics they discussed.  They also asked for advice on issues they were currently facing in the area of advocacy and intervention.   Nate and Melissa took a moment to thank our wonderful presenters and engaging audience.

2017 Symposium

Every year, Bilingual Therapies plays a guessing game with the participants to “guess” the location of the upcoming symposium.  Throughout the conference, attendees received clues via Facebook and Twitter and played the “A Dónde Vamos?” guessing game.  Out of those who guessed correctly, five luck individuals were chosen to receive $200 off of their 2017 registration to…Miami Beach!  We can’t wait for you to join us in this new destination at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach on July 20-23, 2017.