Speech Pathologists and Literacy: What is best practice? 2017

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Speech Pathologists and Literacy: What is best practice? 2017


1 Day Workshop Presented by Dr Roslyn Neilson

SLPs in NSW are taking up an increasing range of roles in the professional field of literacy education and intervention. Our roles include direct support and advocacy for clients with literacy difficulties and their families, and direct support and professional development for teachers and school communities. This is still, however, somewhat unchartered territory for us - the presence of SLPs in the area of literacy is relatively new, and it is often not clearly understood how and why our SLP skills might add value to students’ literacy education. The NSW context in which we are working is one where opposing literacy practices within the Education Departments are very contentiously argued, and where SLPs are not routinely a part of the Education workforce. It is important for SLPs to understand this educational context, and to be prepared to give good answers when we are asked what we have to offer. 

In this context, this workshop will facilitate some detailed discussions of practical and evidenced-based strategies SLPs might use in assessment and intervention. 

Assumed background reading for this workshop is an excellent recent article produced by the Centre for Independent Studies, as part of the FIVE from FIVE Child Literacy Project: This article provides a concise, research-based summary of best educational practice surrounding the five critical components of literacy outlined by the National Reading Panel (NICHHD, 2000): phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary and fluency. It is also required reading for the course.

Our workshop will take each of these five components in turn, and discuss assessment, direct intervention, and consultative strategies that SLPs might implement in the NSW context. Reference to case studies will be provided.

We will begin the day, however, with a broader look at language development in both the oral and written modalities, trying to tease out the inter-dependence of these two modalities as individuals grow to beMcompetent participants in a literate society. I will present a model of the sources of literacy, using a graphic image that SLPs might find useful as they argue in support of the roles they might play in the literacy area.


About Dr. Roslyn Neilson

Ros is a Speech Pathologist who has specialised in literacy difficulties for many years. As well as running a private clinical practice, she works in several local schools, devotes time to research, including the ongoing development of assessment and therapy tools, and provides in-servicing. She completed a PhD in Psychology at Wollongong University in the area of phonological awareness and reading difficulties.

Ros has been presenting workshops on literacy for Speech Pathologists for many years.

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