Global Meeting on Adolescent Language Disorders Adolescents with speech, language, and other communication disorders were the topic of a conference co-sponsored by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and ASHA. The July 5 conference, which drew 300 participants, marked the first time the two professional organizations had joined forces to discuss the nature ... World Beat
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World Beat  |   August 01, 2010
Global Meeting on Adolescent Language Disorders
Author Notes
  • Susan Boswell, assistant managing editor of The ASHA leader, can be reached a sboswell@asha.org.
    Susan Boswell, assistant managing editor of The ASHA leader, can be reached a sboswell@asha.org.×
Article Information
Language Disorders / World Beat
World Beat   |   August 01, 2010
Global Meeting on Adolescent Language Disorders
The ASHA Leader, August 2010, Vol. 15, 29. doi:10.1044/leader.WB2.15102010.29
The ASHA Leader, August 2010, Vol. 15, 29. doi:10.1044/leader.WB2.15102010.29
Adolescents with speech, language, and other communication disorders were the topic of a conference co-sponsored by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and ASHA. The July 5 conference, which drew 300 participants, marked the first time the two professional organizations had joined forces to discuss the nature of language disorders in adolescents, the implications of these disorders for individuals and society, and the critical shortage of speech and language services for adolescents in secondary schools in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
The conference was organized by Victoria Joffe, a speech-language therapist and researcher who specializes in the treatment of adolescent language disorders at City University London, which hosted the conference. The day began with “Update on Working with Young Offenders,” a workshop by Karen Bryan, a speech-language therapist and head of the Division of Health and Social Care at the University of Surrey (United Kingdom).
Bryan provided a sobering report on the high incidence of speech, language, and other communication disorders in incarcerated youth; the disorders often are not identified or treated and contribute to mental health problems and recidivism. For example, many adjudicated youth have difficulty comprehending a judge’s description of their legal rights and responsibilities or defending themselves verbally—difficulties that frequently lead to repeated offenses, re-incarceration, and a diminishing sense of optimism. The importance of early identification and remediation of students’ difficulties in listening and speaking and the resulting emotional and behavioral manifestations cannot be overstated, Bryan said.
In an afternoon presentation, Marilyn Nippold, professor of communication sciences and disorders at the University of Oregon, focused on “Narrative Intervention for Adolescents: Storytelling with Fables.” Nippold described an integrative approach for addressing difficulties in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and reasoning, with the goal of helping students become confident storytellers before reaching secondary school. Fables challenge students to understand literate vocabulary and advanced syntax and to explain complex beliefs and behaviors, Nippold said. Because fables highlight debatable moral dilemmas, students are challenged to engage in formal argumentation, offering reasons for agreement or disagreement, a skill that develops with the transition from concrete to formal operational thought.
The conference ended with Nippold’s keynote address, “How Speech and Language Therapists and Teachers Can Help Adolescents Succeed in School: Using Research to Guide Clinical Practice.” She emphasized the importance of preparing students academically to enter a rapidly changing world, and concluded with a call to university researchers to collaborate with school-based professionals to design and implement intervention studies to build adolescents’ spoken and written language skills. As editor of Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, she encouraged participants to submit their manuscripts on adolescent language disorders to LSHSS for peer review and potential publication.
For more information, contact Marilyn Nippold, PhD, CCC-SLP, professor of communication sciences and disorders at the University of Oregon, at nippold@uoregon.edu.
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August 2010
Volume 15, Issue 10