Clinicians Convene in Anaheim for Schools 2003 Conference Participants From Across Nation Discuss Key Trends School Matters
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School Matters  |   September 01, 2003
Clinicians Convene in Anaheim for Schools 2003 Conference
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School-Based Settings / School Matters
School Matters   |   September 01, 2003
Clinicians Convene in Anaheim for Schools 2003 Conference
The ASHA Leader, September 2003, Vol. 8, 1-6. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM1.08172003.1
The ASHA Leader, September 2003, Vol. 8, 1-6. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM1.08172003.1
Surrounded by palm trees, more than 700 school-based clinicians from across the nation and around the globe gathered in Anaheim, CA, this summer for the Schools 2003 conference, connecting with ASHA leadership, networking with peers, and energizing themselves for the new school year—and beyond. Throughout the conference, clinicians explored diversity among themselves and their students and looked at future trends.
The July 11–13 conference featured evidence-based approaches for assessment and intervention in reading and writing, strategies to build literacy skills and empower students with language learning disabilities to write, and much more.
“This is my first schools conference, and I came away with a re-energized feeling,” said Charlie Clupny, of Pendleton, OR. “I spent my own money for this conference and received more than my money’s worth.”
Participants also heard updates on key legislative developments. Celia Hooper, ASHA vice president for professional practices in speech-language pathology, provided an update on the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and reported on the success of ASHA’s IDEA Call-In Days. On June 11–12, senators received almost 2,000 calls urging them to maintain “highest qualified” personnel standards in IDEA for related service providers. (See related story on page 22.)
“This is an example of the impact we can make,” ASHA President Glenda Ochsner told the crowd in welcoming remarks. “We have the numbers and the support of ASHA to make a difference.”
A Look Into the Future
Advocacy on behalf of the profession will be essential to securing funding for services and programs as the economy recovers, noted strategic business futurist Joyce Gioia, a member of the World Future Society and president of The Herman Group consulting firm.
In an interactive keynote presentation, Gioia gave clinicians a look into the future as she highlighted key economic, demographic, legislative, and medical trends that will affect school-based services. She noted that key economic indicators suggest that the economy is on the upswing.
“Corporations will begin to look for more grant recipients, and you may be the recipient. Schools will have more money to spend, but will they spend it on you?” she asked. “You will need to know how to sell the importance of your program to your school district.”
Amid state and county budget crises, funds will not make their way to SLPs unless school administrators are aware of the value of the services they provide. Gioia suggested that SLPs team up with parents to advocate before school boards. Partnerships with parents—and the corporations that employ them—can lead to the development of school-based speech-language centers with corporate branding.
Other trends that will affect school-based clinicians include an increase in charter and immersion schools, along with the emergence of “paperless” high schools where students carry laptops instead of backpacks. Technological advances such as cochlear implants, new drug therapies for autism, and ways of treating traumatic brain injury are helping SLPs make more progress with children than ever before. “You will have greater challenges with the psychological ramifications of disabilities and will serve as a counselor to students and parents,” Gioia said.
Themes from Gioia’s keynote were reflected in many conference sessions. Sessions focused on such topics as shaping service delivery for tomorrow and the future roles of SLPs, Internet resources, collaboration, cochlear implants, eligibility criteria under IDEA, balancing workload, intervention for bilingual children, making changes in the schools, spelling assessment and intervention, dynamic literacy, sexual orientation, telepractice, and innovative program models.
Cultural Humility
During a second keynote presentation, Melanie Tervalon—a pediatrician, consultant, and faculty member at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine—challenged participants to embrace the concept of “Cultural Humility: A New Approach for the Age of Cultural Competence” in working with children from diverse backgrounds. She asked participants to consider the multiple elements of cultural identity as they defined—and redefined—notions about race and culture.
“The purpose is to invite us into a conversation about what divides us, about what we speak of only at our kitchen tables with others who are like us,” Tervalon said.
This approach grew out of Tervalon’s work with the Multicultural Curriculum Project at the Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, CA, following the beating of Rodney King. A series of meetings were held to better understand the diverse patient population and to put what was learned into practice. In adopting an approach of cultural humility, practitioners engage in a process of self-reflection and lifelong learning and view patients as teachers and experts, Tervalon said.
“If we are able to see patients and communities as teachers, it is a way to learn the context of culture,” she said. “It is not differences that immobilize us, but silence.”
Other Highlights
The conference’s popular roundtable luncheon gave participants the opportunity to exchange successes and stumbling blocks with colleagues and experts on a wide range of topics, from promoting literacy for culturally diverse students to managing total workload.
At the luncheon, Katharine G. Butler was recognized for her contributions to the field of speech-language pathology on a global level, and particularly for her influence on speech-language services to children and adolescents. In addition, SLP Alice Parker, president of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, spoke on the challenges and rewards of working with today’s diverse school population.
Another highlight of the conference was the ASHFoundation Run/Walk. More than 45 members began the first day of the conference with Minnie Mouse leading them in warm-up exercises and then on a 1.5-mile walk/3.1-mile run to benefit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation. Afterwards, participants were treated to a continental breakfast and a special drawing for free registration to ASHA’s 2003 Convention.
Conference attendees also enjoyed an opening reception, breakfast, and lunch with 47 exhibitors as they learned about new products, publications, and employment opportunities.
In the evenings, participants strolled along sidewalks lined with daylilies to Disneyland and went window shopping at Downtown Disney, where they listened to a variety of live music from mariachi to classical violin.
The Future Is Ours
On the final day of the conference, 23 poster sessions gave participants the opportunity to sample diverse research in the field, from phonological awareness in children with multiple disabilities to a workload study in Colorado.
During the closing keynote, SLP Barbara Ehren, a research associate with the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning, reminded participants that the conference wasn’t ending—it was a beginning and a time to believe that “the future is ours.”
To implement this concept and carry over what they’d learned, Ehren told participants that planning and action were needed. Using a tool adapted from the PATH Process (Pearpoint, O’Brien, & Forest, 1993), Ehren encouraged participants to develop their own vision for the future. To create a plan to achieve their vision, participants should assess the current situation, determine available resources and those that are needed, anticipate roadblocks, state short-term targets with a timeframe, specify the first steps, and target the goal.
Take a picture of it and place it on your desk, Ehren suggested. “I invite you to look at the PATH page and rally around symbols,” she said, “then develop the savvy and courage to step through new doors.”
Schools 2003 was sponsored by The Psychological Corporation, Progressus Therapy Inc., AGS Publishing, and Subaru. Sponsors also included ASHA Special Interest Divisions 16, School-Based Issues; Division 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication; and Division 1, Language Learning and Education.
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September 2003
Volume 8, Issue 17