Bilingual Therapies was elated to have two of their clinical fellows present at this year’s ASHA Convention in Boston. We know that the clinical fellowship year is a fast-paced journey, but Annette Cano and Michelle Hernandez found time to fit the convention into their busy schedules. Both presented posters that highlighted their graduate thesis work. Melissa White dropped by their poster presentations to get more information about their studies and ask them what information they wanted SLPs to take back to their practice.
Annette presented her poster, Improving Communication Between Law Enforcement & Autism Spectrum Disorders in Hispanic Communities, with Dr. Ruth Crutchfield of University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. The aim of the present study was to examine autism awareness amongst law enforcement officers (LEO) and first responders (FR) serving the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). A 23-question survey was conducted to collect demographic data, knowledge of characteristics of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and the level of training that LEO’s and FR’s currently have when serving individuals with ASD. She indicated that interaction between first responders and law enforcement and individuals with ASD is a topic of increased interest. Annette indicated that she would like to see further research in this area address more agencies (e.g., fire departments, EMS’s, school district security & police, local police departments, Border Patrol) to participate in this study to observe the difference of knowledge and awareness of ASD.
Michelle’s poster was titled Professional Perspectives on Assessment and Educational Practices for Children Identified as English Language Learners (ELLs). For her study, she interviewed five school-based professionals to document the assessment and educational practices used to classify ELLs. The results suggest that there was a standard list of tools used to assess and identify ELLs across the participants. In addition, the rationale for assessment tool selection was reported to be highly influenced by state laws and regulations. The results of this study indicate the need to further examine the roles of professionals working with ELLs to promote appropriate identification of these students. Gaining a better understanding of the professional roles and criteria used to identify ELLs may result in determining the most appropriate educational placements that provide ELLs with the necessary academic and language support. Michelle wanted SLPs to continue to use a multidisciplinary approach when working with ELL students. A multidisciplinary approach can improve the diagnostic accuracy to ensure that ELLs’ receive the most appropriate educational placements that support the academic and language needs of these students. Michelle would like future research in this area to focus on the specific roles of speech pathologists working with ELL students and how they integrate collected assessment data to determine a language diagnosis for this client population.
We were so impressed with the presentations and topic choices from our clinical fellows and are excited to see them grow in their practice and career. Interested in growing with our Bilingual Therapies family? Gain support and clinical direction in your clinical fellowship, or further your career in school therapy by applying with us here.