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Van Riper Lecture Series | Trauma-Informed Care in the field of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

October 29 @ 9:00 am - 3:30 pm EDT


The Van Riper Lectures began in 1981, honoring Dr. Charles Van Riper, a pioneer in the field of speech-language pathology and audiology and founder of the Speech Pathology and Audiology program at Western Michigan University. The series brings nationally recognized experts for pre-service and in-service education on topics in communication disorders in addition to important educational experiences for Speech, Language and Hearing professionals.

Target Audience: Students, professionals, clinicians, and practitioners in speech, language and hearing sciences, social work, nursing, and occupational therapy.

Recent years have brought increased awareness to the impact of childhood adversity through the lifespan and to the profound way trauma can affect development. This includes better understanding of the unique vulnerability of all aspects of communication to overwhelming stress. Traumatized children face a higher risk than non-traumatized peers for requiring related services or special-education placements. They often struggle with language, listening, attention, processing, regulation, and executive functioning. The prevalence of trauma is even higher in those who already manage disability, with extra risks for individuals with speech, language, and hearing disorders. The combination of difficulties can affect performance in everyday life and academic settings as well as complicate clinical interactions and outcomes. Speech-language pathologists and audiologists are often among the first professionals to see children who present with difficulties and delays. As such we are uniquely positioned to help support traumatized individuals and facilitate collaboration with other professionals. This so all may understand the ways communication challenges manifest during what can be perceived as ‘neutral interactions’ as well as in response to traumatic reminders and emotionally charged narrative. Familiarity with communication realities and their clinical presentations in traumatized individuals can help minimize communication failure while optimizing assessment, intervention, and rehabilitation. This daylong workshop will utilize multiple case-study examples in conjunction with research and clinical literature to describe how various childhood traumas can manifest in one’s ability to relate, regulate, attend, listen, comprehend, socialize, and communicate. Possible ways to understand, respond, and support traumatized individuals will be explored, along with practical suggestions for optimizing assessment, differential diagnosis, and intervention to improve communication, behavior, learning, and utilization of the supports offered. Audience questions and discussion will be welcomed. Polling and/or post-test questions can be included.

Learning Objectives
Participants will be able to:

1. Participants will be able to detail speech, language and hearing issues that are commonly seen in traumatized children and the ways those can present throughout childhood.

2. Participants will be able to identify increased risks for trauma and overwhelming stress in populations that already face communication difficulties.

3. Participants will be able to discuss the role and unique skills set that speech-language pathologists and audiologists bring to the work with traumatized individuals.

4. Participants will be able to describe clinical strategies that can minimize communication failure and optimize clinical interactions and outcomes with traumatized individuals.

5. Participants will be able to list ways speech-language pathologists and audiologists can incorporate trauma-sensitive approaches into the assessment, intervention, and rehabilitation of traumatized individuals.

Continuing Education: 4.5 SW, 4.5 SCECH, .5 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate Level)

Lisa Brennan


October 29
9:00 am - 3:30 pm EDT
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