Language Bar

Spoken and Written Language in Adolescents: Fresh Solutions

February 21–March 5, 2018 | Online Conference

Session Descriptions

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

Why SLP Services are Essential to Adolescents, and Why We Can’t Go It Alone
Barbara J. Ehren, EdD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL

Adolescence is a period of angst for most young people. For those who also have language difficulties, preparing for post-secondary education or the workforce can be challenging. All too often, SLPs are not as involved as they should be, given their expertise in language and their ability to significantly contribute to college and career readiness. This session will present talking points so SLPs can articulate the critical nature of speech-language services as well as discuss specific targets to help adolescents succeed in school and beyond. The presenter will describe how each conference session contributes fresh solutions for facilitating listening, speaking, reading, and writing in adolescents.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • analyze the language adolescents need for forming a personal identity, forging relationships, achieving academically, and becoming college and career ready
  • articulate why SLPs are needed as collaborators in middle, junior, and high schools to contribute to the success of students with language disorders, as well as those struggling with language for other reasons
  • identify how each conference session contributes fresh solutions for supporting spoken and written language in adolescents

Helping Students With Autism Transition to the Workforce
Kim Murza, PhD, CCC-SLP

Research suggests that students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a difficult time transitioning to the workforce. Although more adults with ASD are accessing services through state vocational rehabilitation agencies, the un- and under-employment rate for adults with ASD is very high, due not to job skill deficiencies but rather social language difficulties. This session will explore the language and cognitive underpinnings of the complex pragmatic language skills important in the workplace and discuss evidence-based assessment and intervention planning for adolescents with ASD.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • describe the pragmatic knowledge, skills, and strategies employers are looking for in employees
  • identify the cognitive and linguistic underpinnings of pragmatic language skills
  • identify evidence-based practices for addressing pragmatic language skill development in adolescents with ASD

Strategies for Meeting the Demands of the Secondary Curriculum
Michael Faggella-Luby, PhD

There is a mismatch between the demands of the secondary school curriculum and the skills of at-risk adolescents, especially those diagnosed with disabilities. This session will identify the demands—due to both policy and setting—placed on adolescent learners, describe the characteristics of struggling adolescent learners, and provide a framework for helping these students meet academic and executive function demands. The session will discuss specific strategies for meeting the needs of academically diverse groups of students.  

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • identify policy and setting (academic, social, motivation, and executive) demands placed on adolescent learners
  • match academic and executive function demands to appropriate learning strategies for self-regulated use by students

Building a Literate Lexicon in Middle School: Assessment and Intervention for Adolescents
Marilyn A. Nippold, PhD, CCC-SLP

For many SLPs working in middle schools, assessing and providing intervention for adolescents who have language disorders is challenging. This session will offer direction in how to identify relevant areas for assessment and intervention, focusing on the literate lexicon in the middle school curriculum in science, math, and literature.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • identify appropriate words from science, math, and literature for assessment and intervention with adolescents
  • implement strategy-based intervention that is consistent with the CCSS in English/Language Arts in spoken and written language

Academic Language and Disciplinary Learning
Zhihui Fang, PhD

Learning in any discipline requires at least some interaction with written text, and as students advance through the grades, learning becomes increasingly text-dependent. Disciplinary texts are constructed in lexical, grammatical, and discursive patterns (known as “academic language”) that students often find unfamiliar and intimidating. This session will define academic language, describe the challenges it presents to students, provide evidence-based strategies for addressing these language demands, and discuss implications for educators.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • define "academic language"
  • explain the role of academic language in disciplinary learning
  • identify the challenges of academic language in disciplinary learning
  • use evidence-based practices to help adolescents cope with these challenges

Conversation-Based Language Intervention for Adolescents Using AAC
Gloria Soto, PhD

Adolescents who have little or no functional speech and use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) face significant challenges in developing peer relationships. Additionally, their communication systems are often insufficient to meet the increasing demands for peer socialization and conversation associated with adolescence. This session will present specific intervention strategies that have proven effective in supporting conversational skills with typically developing peers during adolescence, and will discuss their implications in relation to adolescents’ affiliation and identity.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • explain the importance of conversational skills during adolescence
  • design activities and contexts to support the development of conversational skills with adolescents who use AAC
  • coach typically speaking peers to be effective “aided” communication partners
  • use scaffolding strategies to support conversations between adolescents who use AAC and typically developing peers

Improving Social Communication and Disrupting the Path to Delinquency
Kristine Noel, PhD, CCC-SLP

Research has shown that social communication deficits are a factor explaining and predicting the path to delinquency. Appropriate supports and interventions can increase social communication skills, which in turn can improve learning, emotional, and social outcomes. This session will explore the unique role of the SLP in working with at- and high-risk adolescents and discuss interventions within the tiers of a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTTS) framework.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • identify four practices that promote effective social communication in at- and high-risk adolescents
  • describe the role of the SLP within the tiers of a Multi-Tiered System of Support for at- and high-risk adolescents

Sentence-Level Difficulties in Secondary Reading and Writing
Cheryl Scott, PhD, CCC-SLP

This session will examine the language features and tasks that challenge most secondary students, particularly those with persistent language impairment. Discussion will focus on sentence-level features and also review relationships between sentence, word, and text features. The presenter will describe an organizational framework for applying this information to assessment and treatment protocols and will discuss outcome measures to gauge student progress.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • label instances of complex language features in real examples of student writing and in textbook passages
  • develop tasks and measures for assessing complex language in older children and adolescents
  • summarize several treatment objectives and procedures for improving complex language skills in older children and adolescents

The Impact of Early Reading Disabilities on Adolescents’ Academic Success
Rauno Parrila, PhD

In this session, the speaker will discuss what is known about adolescents and young adults who overcome a history of reading difficulties to be successful in school. The session will review current research about effective literacy and learning supports for adolescents with a history of early reading disabilities and how to apply this research in practice.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • discuss the wide variability in academic outcomes of individuals with early reading disabilities
  • describe various risk and protective factors that affect how individuals manage their academic careers
  • explain the need for providing continuous support for adolescents and young adults with a history of reading disabilities

Code Switching by Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Adolescents
Garvin P. Romane, PhD, CCC-SLP

Educators and school-based SLPs work hard to ensure that culturally and linguistically diverse students have equal access to education so they can excel academically and meet the demands of today’s rigorous educational standards and curriculum requirements. When working with culturally and linguistically diverse students, SLPs face the challenge of differentiating between speech/language disorders and speech/language differences (e.g., code switching, or alternating between languages or dialects, when communicating with peers, teachers, and other school staff). This session will review current research and practical resources for working with culturally and linguistically diverse students who code switch, focusing on the unique speech/language differences frequently presented by African American students.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • discuss the historical background of code switching and code meshing in the U.S.
  • describe cultural norms and English dialects used by culturally and linguistically diverse students
  • identify how code switching can be beneficial during classroom instruction

Using Writing to Enhance Critical Thinking and Language
Nickola W. Nelson, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL

This session will focus on using written language contexts for developing critical thinking skills while also addressing IEP objectives that target language at the sound/word and sentence/discourse levels. During the session, the speaker will discuss aspects of working with adolescent students on written language and the writing process, including how to select authentic curriculum-based tasks as well as how to integrate oral discussion and argument. The session will describe how to take advantage of all stages of the writing process, scaffold students’ discourse organization and critical thinking skills at the macro-level, and further develop students’ morphosyntactic fluency and word structure knowledge when revising and editing. A consistent thread will be the importance of showing students that they can engage in high-level thinking even as they continue to work on their oral and written language challenges.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • describe how to target critical thinking in the context of teaching students to plan compare-contrast or pro-and-con essays
  • discuss how to scaffold discourse organization and critical thinking
  • discuss what it means to target “elaboration before correctness”

Peer Coaching With Secondary Teachers
Diane Gillam, MEd; Linda Freeman, MS, CCC-SLP; and Susan Trumbo, MS

When SLPs, teachers, and others who work with adolescents collaborate, students achieve better outcomes and team members gain new knowledge and insights into professional best practices. This session will explore peer coaching as a professional learning structure that can increase collective efficacy among professionals.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • assess current situation and determine who might be potential partners for collaboration
  • use an instructional cycle collaboratively to address the needs of students and select a starting point
  • explain and use a system of self-reflection and performance evaluation to measure contributions to student achievement

Vocabulary Learning in Adolescent English Learners With Language Disorders
Linda I. Rosa-Lugo, EdD, CCC-SLP

Research has shown a correlation between vocabulary knowledge, academic success, and literacy development. After students fall behind their peers in vocabulary development and early literacy acquisition, the achievement discrepancies between poor readers and efficient readers increase as students transition into higher grades; this phenomenon is known as the "vocabulary gap." English learners (ELs) have specific challenges with vocabulary learning and often exemplify this gap. This session will explore the vocabulary gap seen in English learners with and without language disorders. The presenter will discuss current evidence in vocabulary learning of ELs and provide strategies SLPs and educators can use to support struggling adolescent ELs with language disorders.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • discuss the vocabulary gap for English learners with and without language disorders
  • explain future directions of research in vocabulary learning of ELs with language disorders and elements of effective practice for these students
  • implement collaborative techniques with English language teachers and general education classroom teachers to address vocabulary

Boosting Resilience and Stress Hardiness as Part of Language Intervention
Sam Goldstein, PhD, ABPdN

Language is often said to be the window into the mind, and adolescents with spoken and written language problems are at greater risk to experience a myriad of life challenges, including psychiatric disorders. Treatment and educational remediation for spoken and written language disorders improves the outcomes for these youth as they transition into adult life. Research has shown that an adolescent’s mind-set can contribute significantly to positive treatment outcomes. This session will review the role of resilience and stress hardiness as an additive to treatment success and provide learners with a set of practical guidelines to boost these key traits.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • explain the role of protective factors in predicting success of language intervention
  • incorporate practical strategies to support and positively modify adolescents' mind-sets during intervention

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