Bilingual Symposium – 2019

This year the 19th annual Bilingual Symposium returned to the Caribbean and visited San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The symposium was held at the La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort.  La Concha’s chic style and breathtaking ocean views invoked a relaxing feel for our attendees.  Attendees could enjoy a variety of activities, from lounging at the beach to visiting the historic district of Old San Juan. Those staying at La Concha found time to relax poolside and enjoy the nightlife of Condado.

Symposium Welcome Reception

Every year the symposium kicks off with a cocktail welcoming attendees and their guests. We had a chance to meet first-time attendees and got caught up with our past attendees. Guests had an opportunity to chat with our presenters while enjoying the ocean breathe. Nate Cornish-Raley welcomed everyone to our 19th Symposium and shared some big news with the group. This would be Nate’s last Symposium as Clinical Director of Bilingual Therapies. He thanked attendees and colleagues for the great memories he has shared with attendees across the years. He welcomed new members of the BT team and this year’s speakers: Dr. Sara Kangas, Dr. Ellen Kester, Dr. Raul Prezas and Dr. Pedro Olvera. 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 2020.

Friday Sessions

Melissa White welcomed attendees and introduced first time speaker, Dr.Sara Kangas. In her keynote address, “Looking Beyond the Pieces to See the Whole Child”, Dr. Kangas spoke of the importance of collaboration between service providers to provide the best care to our English Language Learners.  She highlighted three actions that can help provide better outcomes for our ELLS: reframing our thinking, adjusting our practices and changing the landscape.

After a brief break, Dr. Ellen Kester continued with her session on “Referral to Diagnostic Decision: The Process for SLPs Working with Diverse Students”.  Dr. Kester started her presentation with an overview of the diversity of students attending our schools. She discussed some testing options available for diverse students and the powerful information dynamic assessment can provide for making diagnostic decisions. Dr. Kester presented three case studies that would follow attendees through the other symposium’s presentations.  After the session, the participants had time to enjoy lunch around the resort or in the Condado neighborhood.

Participants met back after lunch to participate in Dr. Raul Preza’s session titled “Case Studies in Speech Sound Assessment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Population”.  Dr. Prezas presented on the challenges of completing a bilingual speech sound assessment. He reviewed speech sound development, dialectal considerations and bilingual acquisition. Dr. Prezas followed up with the same three case studies from the speech sound assessment perspective. He highlighted a variety of phonological differences CLD students might present with.

After a delicious sweet break, the attendees settled in to hear Dr. Pedro Olvera’s presentation “Bilingual School Psychology: Assessment and Clinical Decision-Making”.  Dr. Olvera laid out the Cognitive Processing Domains and Catell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) Theory of Cognitive Abilities/Processes as a basis to identify where the skills SLPs assess interact with the School Psychologists assessment. He discussed the importance of assessing language proficiency to determine language(s) of assessment. He also looked at the three case studies from the school psychologist perspective. At the end of his session, the attendees mingled and networked with other participants.  They also worked out the answers to clues from the “¿A Dónde Vamos?” game that were given throughout the day.  Many hit the town and enjoyed one of the many delicious dining options available in and around San Juan.

Saturday Sessions

The next morning, attendees started with Dr. Kester presentation “Translating Assessment Results to Intervention Goals”.  She highlighted the impact dynamic assessment has on mediated learning experiences. Dr. Kester provided a framework for interventions and discussed case studies.

After lunch, Dr. Prezas, followed with his presentation “Case Studies in Speech Sound Intervention of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Population”.  He discussed bilingual interventions for speech sound disorders and dived in to EBP approaches for interventions. He highlighted the importance of practice word selection and how it is impacted by dialect. Case studies were presented, and goal examples were discussed. After his presentation, the participants had a lunch break, and many took the opportunity to sample local treats like tostones and mofongo.

Participants met back after lunch for the workshop “Bringing back the “I” in “IEP”” led by Dr. Kangas. During this workshop participants had the chance to break in to smaller groups to discuss ways they could collaborate with other professionals during IEPs.  She also presented on ways to reestablish the IEP team’s culture, and develop ideas for a bilingually-responsive IEP that reflects the bilingual abilities and needs of ELLs with communication disorders.

After a short break with DIY parfaits, 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.  The attendees took the opportunity to ask for clarification on issues addressed in the presentations and to ask for professional advice for issues they face in their workplace.   Nate and Melissa took a moment to thank our wonderful presenters and the amazing audience.

2020 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 Instagram and played the “A Dónde Vamos?” guessing game. Out of those who guessed correctly, five lucky individuals were chosen to receive $200 off their 2020 registration to…Austin, Texas! We can’t wait for you to join us next July.