Annual School SLP Conference at Vanderbilt

school conf logo

August 1 and 2, 2024

The School SLP Conference at Vanderbilt, sponsored by the Child Language and Literacy Lab, is held annually, typically in early August. We set the date for the conference in November and registration opens in April. The conference is supported by our US Department of Education Training Grants and low-cost registration fees. Participants can earn up to 10 professional development hours (ASHA CE or attendance certificate). IN PERSON REGISTRATION on the day of the conference will be in Wyatt Hall on the Peabody College Campus at Vanderbilt University.

The conference began in 2013 to meet the unique professional development needs of school speech-language pathologists. The conference can be attended in person or remotely. The conference is held on the Peabody Campus at Vanderbilt University. Remote attendance can be synchronous or asynchronous. We announce the conference on this website and via our listserv. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please click on the following link: join the CLL mailing list!

New this year! We will have a one-day DHH track on Friday, August 1, 2024. This track is designed for anyone working with DHH children in schools ~ gen ed teachers, teachers of the deaf and other special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, and educational audiologists. SLPs who register for the full conference will have access to these sessions. Invite your colleagues to join (in person or remote) for this special track on Friday. We plan to continue this track through at least 2027 as part of our training grants.  

GRADUATE and UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS from any program can attend the conference for FREE. When registering, indicate that you are a full-time student. 


Registration Links



Deaf and Hard of Hearing Track:



2024 School SLP Conference Sessions

August 1 and 2, 2024

Below you will find the schedule of sessions - Thursday and Friday  - as well as DHH Track Sessions on Friday. Two-day attendees can choose from any of these sessions. If you are interested only in the DHH track, please register above for that track only. ASHA requires professional development in specific areas: supervision, DEI/cultural-linguistic diversity, ethics. These sessions are marked as such (see titles). If you are an in person registrants, you can choose any of the sessions. If you are a remote attendee, registrants will receive an email on July 29 with directions on accessing sessions. Registrants will receive email information July 29 and thereafter about recording participation for CE/PD documentation. Questions:

We reserve the right to make session time adjustments. We will post a downloadable version of the session schedule on July 29. 

Thursday, 08/01/2024
8:30 - 10:30Session 1Session 2Session 3 
TitleEmpowering SLPs: Implementing Solutions for the 9 TensionsFeedback: Who, What, Where, When, and How in Clinical Education (SUPERVISION)Cleft Palate and Velopharyngeal Insufficiency: Assessment and Treatment 
SpeakerMarie Ireland, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCS-CLMary Sue Fino-Szumski, Ph.D., M.B.A., CCC-A, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical CenterMelissa C. Henry, CCC-SLP Assistant Professor, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center 
LO(1) Discuss the nine major tensions regarding eligibility decision making in the school setting (2) Consider the usefulness of Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) for understanding SLP challenges in schools (3) Identify how SLPs and school leaders may address concerns to reduce obstacles and as a catalyst for change At the end of the session, participants will be able to (1) define feedback, describe its importance, and explain their role in providing feedback in clinical education. (2) describe how to effectively deliver feedback in a school/clinical setting. (3) describe how to effectively solicit and use feedback that is provided to them by students."The participant will describe causes of velopharyngeal insufficiency and its effects on speech and resonance; assessment for children with VPI; treatment approaches 
AbstractLearn about the 9 major tensions facing school SLPs and how to address them. Tools for analysis and identification at the individual, school, and LEA level will be shared. Discussion of strategies and resources will provide examples for easy implementation. A focus on building advocacy skills, understanding conflict, development of automaticity, awareness of students’ civil rights will equip SLPs and school leaders with information to reduce obstacles and serve as catalysts for change.Providing and receiving feedback are essential components of the clinical education process. Understanding the importance of feedback and strategies for delivering effective feedback provide a foundation for a successful clinical education experience for the student and the clinical educator. This session will explore feedback, its importance, and how to effectively deliver feedback in a school/clinic setting. In addition, the use of feedback provided by students related to their clinical education experience will be discussed.  
11:00 - 12:30Session 3Session 5Session 6Session 7
TitleEnhancing Executive Functioning Skills in Speech-Language Therapy: Practical Strategies for School SLPsUnmasking Spanish SLP Resources: Uncovering Flaws and Forging Solutions (DEI)AAC and LiteracyPreventative Behavior Support Strategies for School Speech-Language Pathologists
SpeakerJoAnne Berns, MS, CCC-SLP - Berns Therapy SolutionsAhmed Rivera Campos PhD CCC-SLP Davies School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Texas Christian University; Jean F Rivera Perez PhD CCC-SLP, Davies School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Texas Christian UniversityKerry Hankins-Grider M.A. CCC-SLP, ATP, Solutions Consultant with TobiiDynavoxHannah L. Fipp-Rosenfield, BFA, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University

Lauren H. Hampton, PhD BCBA-D, Department of Special Education, The University of Texas at Austin 

Jason Chow, PhD, Department of Special Education, Vanderbilt University
LOAt the end of this session, participants will be able to: (1) Describe the components of executive function skills and their relevance to our students’ communication skills. (2) Implement evidence-based interventions designed to support and enhance executive functioning in students.(1) Identify key limitations in current Spanish speech-language pathology (SLP) resources. (2) Describe effective strategies for adapting and improving Spanish SLP materials. (3) Explain methods to collaborate with other professionals to enhance resource development for Spanish-speaking populations.Participants will learn how to access 3 free resources for AAC and literacy. Participants will learn at least one new evidence-based literacy strategy for complex communicators using a variety of access methods. Participants will learn a minimum of 3 new engaging literacy activities for complex communicators using a variety of access methods.1) Describe the significant association between children’s language delays, communication challenges, and disruptive behaviors, 2) Describe preventative behavioral support strategies, and 3) Identify how preventative behavior support strategies can be used by school SLPs within therapy sessions.
AbstractEmbark on an enlightening journey into executive function skills! Explore its pivotal role in meeting academic, behavioral, and social demands, making it essential for IEP goals and therapy planning. Discover the components of executive function skills and their impact on communication abilities. Gain insights into evidence-based interventions tailored to support and enhance executive functioning in students. Don't miss this opportunity to empower your therapeutic practice and effectively serve students with executive function difficulties.This session delves into the critical evaluation of existing Spanish SLP resources, highlighting prevalent flaws and proposing actionable solutions. Participants will learn how to identify gaps in current materials and explore innovative strategies to adapt and enhance resources, ensuring more effective interventions for Spanish-speaking clients. The session aims to equip attendees with the tools necessary for collaborative development of culturally and linguistically appropriate SLP tools.Attendees will learn low and high-tech literacy supports for both touch and alternative access AAC users. Attendees will discover free resources and materials to implement into your therapy sessions and classrooms. We will discuss evidenced-based strategies for AAC implementation and literacy development applied to case studies. All participants will learn how to access TD Snap for free and customize features to support literacy for a wide range of communicators.Approximately 95% of SLPs report working with children that present disruptive behaviors, yet 90% report not learning behavior support strategies during graduate school. This session will present preventative behavior support strategies, for SLPs to use during therapy sessions with children that engage in disruptive behaviors. This session will include a discussion of how preventative strategies can be effectively implemented during sessions by SLPs to reduce children’s disruptive behaviors, promote engagement, facilitate communication and language development.
1:45 - 3:15Session 8Session 9Session 10Session 11
TitlePerspectives of Professionalism in Speech-Language Pathology (ETHICS)A Tiered Approach to Shared Book Reading with Bilingual Students (DEI)A multi-site study of code- and meaning-focused instruction in PK-3rd grade classroomsValid and Reliable Assessmnet of Language Impairment in School-Age Children
SpeakerBrooke Apple, B.S.Ed. – second-year University of Georgia Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate studentTaydi Owens Ray, M.S., CCC-SLP, Department of Special Education, Vanderbilt University
Kelsey M. Dillehay, Ph.D., Department of Special Education, Vanderbilt University
Ashley Sanabria, PhD, CCC-SLP, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, San Diego State UniversityDoug Peterson, PhD, Univeristy of Wyoming
LOIn this session we will discuss a research study that explored perspectives of professionalism in speech-language pathology through interviews with practicing SLPs. In comparison to other fields where there are multiple examinations of professionalism, there are limited examinations of how professionalism relates to speech-language pathology. Participants discussed connections between speech-language pathology, professional skills, and ASHA’s core values of diversity, equity, inclusion, innovation, and integrity.(1) Describe the benefits of shared book reading. (2) Identify Enhanced Milieu Teaching's (EMT) core strategies for shared book reading. (3) Apply this approach to shared book reading to bilingual students on their caseload.At the end of the session participants will be able to: (1) describe the time devoted to code- and meaning-focused learning opportunities in PK-3rd grade classrooms (2) identify whether and when code-and meaning-focused skills are differentiated (3) identify potential roles for the SLP in influencing literacy learning opportunities for children in PK-3rd grade 
Abstract(1) Summarize how practicing speech-language pathologists describe professionalism and specific components of it, such as core values (2) Describe common perspectives on professionalism among practicing speech-language pathologistsAlthough the benefits of shared book reading are well-established, there is a need for evidence-based literacy interventions for young Spanish-speaking, Latino students. In this presentation, we will discuss an emerging approach to shared book reading that is rooted in Enhanced Milieu Teaching (EMT). This tiered approach is intended to be straightforward and adaptable, allowing speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to implement it immediately.Having a clear understanding of the types and amounts of classroom literacy learning opportunities is important for contextualizing children's early literacy performance. In this study, we examine the content, context, and management of literacy learning opportunities For 1,404 children in 153 preschool through 3rd grade classrooms. We also explore whether these opportunities were differentiated by children's language and reading skill level. Implications for SLPs will be discussed. 


Friday, 08/02/2024 
8:30 - 10:30Session 12Session 13Session 14  
TitleBuilding Social Communication and Language Skills thrugh Play and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)Managing Speech Sound Disorders More eEficientlyBlame it on Gutenberg:  
SpeakerElizabeth E Biggs, PhD, Department of Special Education, Vanderbilt University; Erin Turner, M.Ed., Department of Special Education, Vanderbilt UniversityJanie Eppstein, MS, CCC-SLP, PhD Student, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt UniversityModerator: C. Melanie Schuele, PhD, Vanderbilt Unviersity School of Medicine; Discussant: Jan Wasowicz PhD CCC-SLP, BCS-CL  
LO(1) Foster the engagement of elementary-aged students who are nonspeaking or have limited speech in play as a context for language teaching, (2) Teach language and communication skills to students using play-based naturalistic augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventionAt the end of the session, participants will be able to describe two activities to implement for children with speech sounds disorders.Describe three ways in which you can apply what you learned from video/discussion to your work setting.  
AbstractMany speech-language pathologists want to find motivating ways to engage students learning to use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). That’s where play comes in! In this session, we share research-based strategies to teach social communication and language skills through play and AAC. Strategies come from the Enhancing Peer Networks Project, a four-year federally funded research project that uses play to promote language, social communication, and peer engagement for elementary-aged students with autism and limited speech.SLPs use a variety of intervention styles to treat children with speech impairment, with mixed results. Strategies will be discussed to help children more efficiently meet their IEP goals, including target word selection, approach to intervention, and therapy activities. Examples will be provided as alternatives to using pre-made word lists and drill only therapy.Blame it on Gutenberg is a documentary abou thte evolving science of dyslexia, dueling theories over how to teach reading, and one family's landmark struggle with an unresponsive school system. In this session, we will watch this video (65 min) and then open the floor for discussion. Dr. Jan Wascowicz will join us remotely as a discussant; she was involved in the making of this documentary.   
10:30 -12:30Session 15Session 16Session 17Session 18 
FormatIn Person OnlyIn Person and Remote SynchronousIn Person ONLYIn Person ONLY 
TitleLove it or hate it: “Do the Right Thing” with Language SamplingThe Collaborative Process of Transition PlanningWorkshop School Placement SyllabusSchool SLPs Roles and Responsibilities for Reading Disabilities 
SpeakerKaren Barako Arndt, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, and Communicative Disorders, University of Louisville, and Karen C. Davis, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Department of Health and Human Performance, Middle Tennessee State UniversityLaura Hattier M.Ed. Transition Specialist, Indian River School District, Selbyville, DelawareC. Melanie Schuele, PhD, CCC-SLP, Dept. of Hearing and Speech Science, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Janie Eppstein, MS, CCC-SLP, Dept. of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt UniversityHannah Krimm, PhD, CCC-SLP, Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education, University of Georgia 
LO(1) report on what the evidence says about how most SLPs are using language sampling
(2) describe practical evidence-based options for language sampling, related to both oral and written language 
(3) incorporate language sampling into assessment and/or progress monitoring 
(1) describe each of the three domains of transition planning
(2) draft customized therapy goals to support students in achieving optimal post-school outcomes                                                       (3) list strategies for improving interdisciplinary collaboration
Develop a syllabus for a school placement for graduate students to include learning outcomes, sequence of assessment, intervention, and collaboration experiences, and required readings.(1) Describe the major types of reading disability. 
(2) Explain the relationship between language impairment and reading disability. 
(3) Identify one step SLPs can take to prevent, identify, and/or remediate reading disability.
AbstractThis session will detail the things SLPs love and hate about Language Sampling, while highlighting the many important uses of Language Sampling for both assessment and/or progress monitoring of the oral and written language of children with developmental language disorders. Research will be presented on how SLPs are currently using Language Sampling and practical evidence-based options for language sampling will be presented. SLPs will have time to consider how to incorporate language sampling into practice.This session is designed to support school-based SLPs in understanding the diverse post secondary needs of their students. Topics covered highlight the relevance of SLPs as valuable contributors of the outcome-oriented process of transition planning by unpacking the three types of transition goals found within the IEP and developing strategies for increasing collaboration with diverse IEP team stakeholders.In this sessions the speakers will lead attendees in developing a syllabus that leads to desired student knowledge and skill outcomes in preparation for students being successful in the CF year in the schools. The need for a well-developed syllabus is widely recognized in didactic courses, but less so in clinical experiences/courses. There is a critical need for a rigorous syllabus to guide school SLPs who serve as preceptors in graduate students school placements and externships.In this session we will discuss the role of the SLP in serving children with reading disabilities, including dyslexia. We will Provide an overview of different types of reading disability and their relation to spoken language. We will discuss practical steps SLPs can take to better serve these children. 
1:45 - 3:15Session 19Session 20Session 21Session 22Session 23
TitleIncorporating Language Sample Analysis into your PracticeTech-Forward SLP: Revolutionizing Services in School for Bilingual and Monolingual Students with Ultrasounds and Computer-Assisted Vocabulary Intervention (CABVI)Nashville College Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability: IDEAL and Next StepsA Special Session for Graduiate Students! Beginning Your Career as a School SLPUnderstanding the Language Basis of Reading for Clinical Practice
SpeakerJohn Heilmann, PhD, CCC-SLP, School of Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology, University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeJean F Rivera Perez PhD CCC-SLP, Davies School of CSD, Texas Christian University; Ahmed Rivera Campos PhD CCC-SLP, Davies School of CSD, Texas Christian UniversityAriana Amaya, OTD, OTR/L, Next Steps at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt University; Halle King, OTD, OTR/L, IDEAL at Lipscomb, Lipscomb UniversityJanie Eppstein, MS, CCC-SLP, PhD Student, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt UniversityCrystle Alonzo, PhD, CCC-SLP, San Diego State University, School of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
LODescribe how language sample analysis helps document the educational impact of communication disorders; Contrast rubric-based and transcription-based language sample analysis; Summarize two strategies to expand the use of language sample analysis within their practice.(1) Explain how ultrasound technology can be utilized to improve speech articulation in bilingual and monolingual students. (2) Describe the Computer-Assisted Vocabulary Intervention (CABVI) process and its benefits for vocabulary development in bilingual students. (3) Identify strategies for integrating technology into school-based speech-language pathology services to enhance educational outcomes.(1) Describe key details of the Next Steps and IDEAL programs (2) identify ways to prepare students for these programs.At the end of session, participants will be able to generate meaningful 3 questions to ask during interviews for school SLP jobs.At the end of this session, participants will be able to apply contemporary reading models and to determine reader profiles for planning assessment and intervention for children with language learning difficulties.
AbstractIn this presentation, I will present multiple options for incorporating language sample analysis (LSA) into evaluation protocols. For those new to language sampling, I will show how rubric-based language samples are a feasible way to start getting discourse-level measures on your students. I will then describe how transcription adds value to LSA and provides a better description of students’ communication skills. We will conclude by identifying strategies and resources to expand your use of LSA.This presentation explores the integration of advanced technologies, specifically ultrasounds and Computer-Assisted Vocabulary Intervention (CABVI), in school settings to enhance the speech-language services provided to both bilingual and monolingual students. Attendees will learn about future technological opportunities such as training in the application of ultrasound technology to remediate articulation disorders and the use of CABVI in boosting vocabulary acquisition in both the Spanish and English languages in children with Developmental Language Disorders.Program staff from Next Steps at Vanderbilt and IDEAL at Lipscomb will provide an overview of their inclusive college program offering for students with intellectual disability. Presenters will share information on how to best prepare students for college and discuss the role of SLP in supporting students in this preparation.A panel of speech-language pathologists with work experience in different school districts will discuss job life as a beginning SLP. Topics of discussion will include but are not limited to: clinical fellowship year; collaboration in schools; interviewing for job; district role vs. contract SLP. Graduate school students are the target audience of this panel.By exploring the language basis of reading we will create a foundation for leading literacy change in the school systems, discussing evidence-based theories of reading as well as research-supported assessments and interventions for reading difficulties.



DHH Track - Friday, 08/02/2024
8:30 - 10:30Session 24Session 25
TitleSpeech, Language and Literacy Assessment in Students with Cochlear ImplantsTeaching Concept Vocabulary as an On-Ramp to Print Knowledge and Complex Syntax for Children who are DHH
SpeakerStephen Camarata, PhD, CCC-SLP; Heather Gillum, PhD, CCC-SLP; Rene Gifford, PhD, CCC-A, Depat of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University School of MedicineEmily Lund, PhD, CCC-SLP Davies School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Texas Christian University
LODescribe multiple considerations to consider in creating valid and reliable assessment results with students who are DHH students, with specific consideration for cochlearn implant users. (1) Explain concept vocabulary and how it differs from other types of vocabulary (2)Describe how concept vocabulary knowledge contributes to print knowledge and building complex syntax (3) Identify strategies for teaching concept vocabulary to children who are DHH
AbstractDHH children are assessed by a variety of professoinals in schools who have varying knowledge and experience with children who have hearing loss. In this session the presenters share what they have learned over the past several  years of assessing the language and literacy skills of a large number of DHH students. They provide insights that will assist attendees in conducting reliable and valid language and literacy assessments. Despite improvements in amplification technology over the past forty years, children who are deaf and hard of hearing have a wider-than-expected range of language and literacy outcomes. Concept vocabulary is a subset of general knowledge inclusive of lexical items that are abstract and change in meaning based on a referent (e.g., after) and children who are DHH have particular difficulty learning these words. Deficits in concept vocabulary exacerbate deficits in conceptual print knowledge and syntax that includes concept vocabulary (like complex syntax). This session will review current literature on concept vocabulary outcomes in children who are DHH, how those outcomes influence other language skills, and intervention strategies that improve concept vocabulary.
10:45 - 12:15Session 26Session 27
TitleSchool-based guide to supporting deaf and hard of hearing studentsHearing Devices in Education Settings: An Overview
SpeakerMeganne Muir, MA, CCC-SLP, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Adriana M. Valtierra, MS, CCC-SLP, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt UniversityMackenzie Lighterink, B.A., Audiology Extern, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University
LO(1) Describe a variety of communication modalities for DHH children (2) Develop appropriate goals and classroom modifications to meet the needs of various student profiles (3) Identify free online and community-based resources for therapists, classroom teachers, and parents(1) Compare three different types of hearing technology that may be utilized by children with hearing loss. (2) Identify two common device issues that can be troubleshooted in a school setting.
AbstractLanguage development requires early and consistent access to a complete language, whether signed, spoken, AAC, or a combination of these modalities. This session will characterize communication methods for DHH children and provide resources to guide their support team. Participants will apply the information from the session to write goals and suggest classroom modifications based on case studies. They will leave the session with a list of online and community resources to apply to their practice.This session will provide an introductory overview of various hearing aid, implantable, and remote microphone technologies that are encountered in educational settings. Differences between devices, as well as the patient populations they are most frequently utilized in, will be the primary focus of the session. Additional time will be spent reviewing common device issues and troubleshooting techniques.
1:45 - 3:15Session 28 
TitleSupporting Personal Narrative Production in Preschoolers who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing 
SpeakerKrystal Werfel, PhD, CCC-SLP, Center for Childhood Deafness, Language, and Learning, Boys Town National Research Hospital 
LO(1) Describe elaborative reminiscing as a personal narrative intervention technique (2) Describe personal narrative difficulty in preschoolers who are DHH 
AbstractIn this session, we will discuss the difficulties observed in preschool children who are DHH with personal narrative production. We will discuss intervention strategies, specifically elaborative reminiscing, and use of visual supports, as well as general intervention principles for children who are DHH. 





2023 School SLP Conference at Vanderbilt