American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Improving Communication of People With Severe Disabilities: Interprofessional Strategies

Session Descriptions

These pre-recorded lectures are on-demand and last only an hour, so you can listen to them whenever time permits!

Facilitating Communicative Success for Persons With Severe Disabilities Through Interprofessional Collaboration: An Overview of Challenges and New Directions
Billy T. Ogletree, PhD, CCC-SLP

Interprofessional practice is the future for health and allied health care. This is particularly true for providers serving individuals with complex communication needs secondary to severe intellectual impairments. As a growing body of research contributes to clinical innovations specific to this population, there is the need for practical discussions of front line issues critical to interprofessional care. This plenary session poses broad challenges and solutions to interprofessional communication-based service delivery for individuals with severe intellectual disabilities.

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:

  • describe critical issues in interprofessional service delivery for individuals with severe disabilities

Promoting Communication Development in Presymbolic Learners with Multiple Disabilities
Susan M. Bashinski, EdD
Susan M. Bruce, PhD

This presentation will address communication development and intervention for learners with multiple disabilities, including visual impairment. Participants will learn about the symbolization process and its importance to selecting individually appropriate instructional strategies. Participants should learn to recognize emergent expressive communication signals and augment early receptive communication development. Since many children with severe disabilities also have visual impairment, this presentation will also address the use of tactile strategies. Discussion will include practical strategies for promoting the development of nonsymbolic communication skills, with the target of bridging learners' skills to intentional, symbolic communication. Participants will learn how to develop individualized signal dictionaries.

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:

  • describe the symbolization process
  • identify the level of symbolization development exhibited by a variety of learners who experience multiple disabilities, including visual impairment
  • identify strategies for teaching learners with multiple disabilities, who function at the level of pre-intentional development
  • identify strategies for teaching learners with multiple disabilities, who function at the level of intentional, presymbolic development
  • define touch cues and object cues that could be included in a signal dictionary, developed by an educational team for a learner who experiences multiple disabilities

Effective Team Practices: Interprofessional Contributions to Communication Issues
Karena Cooper-Duffy, PhD
Kerri Eaker

In this session information will be provided to show participants how to effectively build and participate in a team supporting people with severe disabilities. A five-step process will be described to illustrate how to build and work on a team. The phases of team development will be described so participants have information about typical team dynamics. The use of communication strategies in teamwork will be described with practical examples. Strategies for using effective and efficient communication to enable the team to achieve the goal will be provided. Problem-solving strategies will be taught to provide team members tools to address challenges head-on rather than with frustration and inefficient strategies.

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:

  • create and participate in an effective team
  • use effective communication strategies to work collaboratively with a diverse group of team members
  • problem-solve and negotiate issues to address problems

Conversations Between Researchers and Practitioners: Literacy for Learners With Complex Multiple Disabilities
Karen Erickson, PhD

This program will offer an instructional framework and practical approaches to address the literacy learning needs of learners with complex multiple disabilities. The emphasis will be on comprehensive approaches to emergent and early conventional literacy that move beyond skill acquisition to skill application in meaningful print-rich contexts. The program will describe critical skills and understandings that learners must acquire to be successful with comprehensive conventional literacy instruction, as well as the critical elements of comprehensive instruction.

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:

  • explain the distinctions between emergent and conventional literacy
  • identify the critical skills and understandings that indicate a learner is likely to be successful with comprehensive, conventional literacy instruction
  • identify the components of comprehensive instruction for emergent and conventional literacy learners

Promoting Socially Valid Practices and Outcomes in Assessment, Goal Setting, and Intervention
Howard Goldstein, PhD, CCC-SLP

To improve the relevance and feasibility of our treatments for individuals with communication disorders, we need to develop a paradigm of treatment development that embraces implementation science from the outset. Social validity assessments could provide a tool kit for developing treatments that are effective and sustainable. We will explore ways for all relevant stakeholders who are the deliverers, recipients, or other beneficiaries of our treatments to contribute throughout the research, development, and refinement stages of creating evidence-based practices. Participants will learn new strategies to improve treatment efficacy, adoption, and implementation.

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:

  • articulate the multiple dimensions of social validity
  • argue for why assessing social validity is an important thing to do
  • design social validity assessments that provides useful information
  • argue for ongoing social validity as a means of improving implementation of interventions

Access to Innovations in Technology: Enhancing Communication for Individuals with Complex Communication Needs Today and Tomorrow
Judy Lariviere, MEd, OTR/L

With recent advances in technology, all individuals with complex communication needs, including those with the subtlest motor movement, now have a means for accessing technology to communicate. This presentation will highlight how individuals with complex communication needs are using the latest innovations in technology, including switches or eye tracking technology, to access AAC devices. Case study evidence supporting access first to "core phrases" as a strategy to "jumpstart" communication and engagement in conversations using technology will be shared with video examples. The influence of apraxia and processing of sensory input on a child's or an adult's ability to communicate using technology throughout the day or in different settings will be discussed. The importance of collaboration among professionals to support effective use and integration of technology will also be highlighted. Reference will be made to future innovations in technology and the implications these have for individuals with complex communication needs.

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:

  • recognize some of the subtle factors that may be impacting an individual with complex communication needs' ability to demonstrate successful use of technology for communication across communication partners, times of day, and/or settings
  • identify some of the latest technology innovations that can be explored to support ease of access to communication
  • discuss how the use of "core phrases" can be used to support initial and immediate communication success and support engagement in conversational exchanges
  • discuss how inter-professional collaboration is essential to achieving effective use of technology across environments

Interprofessional Innovation Impacting Technology and Practice Discoveries: The Sum is Greater Than the Parts
Beth Mineo, PhD, CCC-SLP

In the midst of our clinical work, it is not uncommon to find ourselves musing, "If only there were a way to..." or "If I only had a device that..." or "If only they would find a way to afford my client access to..." This session is about translating those musings into innovations that impact our clients' communicative success. The session will encourage those with promising ideas regarding new products, policies, and/or practices to recognize that they can be instrumental in turning ideas into clinically impactful realities through collaborations with professionals from other clinical, technology, research, or policy domains. The session will discuss how innovations now a familiar part of our clinical landscape arose from creative and constructive interprofessional partnerships, and will challenge those with innovative ideas to seek collaborators and resources enabling them to bring those ideas to life.

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:

  • identify existing products, policies, and practices that resulted from creative interprofessional collaborations
  • analyze clinical challenges in terms of needed product, policy, and/or practice innovations
  • identify other professionals with expertise relevant to solving clinical challenges
  • describe strategies for connecting with other professionals in pursuit of innovative solutions

Can We Talk? Connecting, Communicating, and Collaborating in the Digital Age
Judith Schoonover, MEd, OTR/L, ATP
Sally Norton-Darr, MS, CCC-SLP

When professionals from different disciplines work together they learn from one another and extend their interaction and learning outside of their individual worksites. Due to the complexity of the needs of persons with severe disabilities and their low incidence in our population, many professionals serving those consumers lack abundant experience, expertise, and academic and practical preparation. The challenge of developing the interpersonal, interdisciplinary, and interagency collaboration required to create optimal communication supports may appear to be insurmountable. Busy schedules and distance often make group work difficult to coordinate. When properly applied, technology can eliminate these barriers to collaboration. This workshop will highlight tools and resources that can be used to promote collaborative practices and knowledge sharing to support the communication needs of persons with severe disabilities.

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:

  • name competencies that promote interprofessional collaboration across all populations
  • discuss how technology can promote collaboration on behalf of all clients
  • list at least three options for virtual collaboration

Let's Walk, Roll, and Talk! Speech and Language Pathologists and Physical Therapists Collaborating to Promote Socially Valid Communication and Movement Outcomes
Lorraine Sylvester, PT, PhD

Physical therapy and speech pathology should not be mutually exclusive interventions. Interventions that promote solely discipline-specific and impairment-based interventions, without considering the preferred outcomes of individuals with disability, rarely produce socially valid outcomes that enable individuals with severe disabilities to communicate, and to move. Participants will learn how physical therapists collaborate with speech-language pathologists and other team members to provide socially valid interventions that promote achievement of meaningful communication and movement outcomes by individuals with severe disabilities. Setting meaningful goals requires therapists to glean individuals' preferences, strengths, and support needs, in the design and implementation of child/student/adult-focused interventions. This presentation will explore person-centered PT and SLP practices compared to traditional clinician-directed interventions in order to promote socially valid outcomes for individuals with severe disabilities.

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:

  • discuss the difference between impairment and discipline-specific interventions and collaborative interventions on goal setting, and outcome achievement
  • define and write at least one socially valid PT and communication goal/outcome
  • identify at least three assessment tools that can help determine and measure socially valid outcomes and can be used by multiple disciplines
  • define/describe the Self-determination Learning Model of Instruction
  • sketch an outline of a socially valid collaborative intervention session that incorporates aspects of the Self-determination Learning Model

21st Century Clinicians: Technology Tools for Busy Professionals
Carole Zangari, PhD, CCC-SLP

Professionals who work with individuals with significant disabilities are frequently charged with teaching new information either formally (e.g., in coursework, professional development) or informally (e.g., to clients, families, teams). This presentation explores technological options that professionals can use to share detailed and complex information in an efficient manner. Participants will gain information on digital curation, screencasting, flipped videos, interactive images, and other web-based tools, along with suggestions for free or low-cost resources. Applications for the use of these tools in educational and clinical settings will be discussed.

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:

  • list the process of digital curation
  • list the process of screencasting
  • list the process of using interactive images
  • discuss applications for using screencasting, digital curation, and interactive images in supporting individuals with significant disabilities

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