Technical Sessions

Student Technical Sessions

Tech Session 1 - The Effects of Using Culturally Relevant High-Tech Devices for African American AAC Users: A Case Study

Emily Johnson, BA, Fontbonne University; Lauren Wright-Jones, PhD, Fontbonne University

Tech Session 2 - Listener Training Paradigm for Auditory-Perceptual Ratings of Dysarthria

Katie Threlkeld, CCC-SLP, University of Missouri; Tara Fogarty, University of Missouri; Mili Kuruvilla-Dugdale, PhD, University of Missouri

Auditory-perceptual methods are considered the gold standard to detect and track progressive speech loss in neurodegenerative diseases. However, there are several challenges associated with perceptual evaluations including decreased reliability, disparate dysarthria definitions, and differing experience levels among raters. Listener training can be used to mitigate some of these issues by providing raters with quality external anchors, clear definitions of dysarthric features, and prompt performance feedback. The purpose of the current study was to investigate a listener training protocol for auditory-perceptual assessment of healthy aging and disordered speech. Two listener groups i.e., a control and an experimental training group, completed initial speech severity ratings on speech intelligibility test (SIT) samples from 6 individuals each with ALS, PD, and older and younger adults (OA, YA), using a visual analog scale (VAS). All raters judged overall severity and severity of the following dysarthric features: imprecision, monotony, and slow rate, with minimal guidance from the experimenters. The training group then completed a Definition-Anchor-Stimulus-Response-Feedback-Stimulus training paradigm for feature identification and feature severity (imprecision, monotony, rate) along with overall severity (mild, moderate, severe), using Grandfather Passage samples from the four speaker groups (ALS, PD, OA, YA). Post training, the experimental group scaled the initial SIT samples again. Currently, statistical analyses are being planned for the completed listener ratings. Significant within-training group and between-listener group differences in rater reliability and agreement are expected for pre- versus post-training ratings. The clinical and theoretical implications of these training effects will be highlighted during the technical session.

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Identify listener-related limitations of auditory-perceptual ratings of dysarthric speech.
  • Recall components of the training paradigm designed to improve listener agreement and reliability.
  • Summarize listener training effects on the assessment of healthy aging and disordered speech.


Level of Learning: Intermediate | SLP-Clinical Topic

Outstanding Graduate Student Technical Session

Tech Session 3 - Working with individuals with aphasia using the Life Participation Approach

Gabrielle Greer, BS, Fontbonne University; Nataley Lorenz, BS, Fontbonne University; Ashley Edwards, BS, Fontbonne University; Lauren Murphy, BS, Fontbonne University; Jacey Pate, BS, Fontbonne University; Amanda Eaton, CCC-SLP PhD, Fontbonne University

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders [NIDCD] identifies 180,000 new cases of aphasia each year. While traditional speech therapy aims to rehabilitate language and communication abilities, less attention is paid to the impact of chronic aphasia on hobbies, interests, loved ones, and communal involvement. The Life Participation Approach to Aphasia (LPAA) is a client-centered approach designed to expand the mindset of the clinician, client, to include the community and activities in which the PWA engages. In January of 2020, 9 student clinicians and two of their professors had the unique opportunity to utilize this approach on a cruise with PWA and their families through the Aphasia Recovery Connection (ARC). Cruise participants immersed themselves in a diverse selection of therapy activities led by student clinicians and professional SLPs with expertise in working with PWA, group outings and activities on board as well as in port cities, and nightly dinners with a worldwide ARC community. Through this somewhat exclusive experience, lasting friendships and newfound interests and abilities were created. Using the LPAA, we can implement a framework that is client-centered, community-oriented, and family-focused into everyday therapy that more individuals have access to. In this session, we hope to illustrate how this approach can be used in a variety of settings, the impact of this approach as documented by ARC cruisers, and how this approach can change the mindset of the individual with aphasia, the clinician, and the community as a whole.

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia and how it relates to individuals with aphasia, their support network, and their larger community.</li.
  • Identify the ways in which the LPAA can be applied to a variety of clinical settings (clinic, school, hospital, etc.).
  • Explain how site-specific activities that took place on the Aphasia Recovery Connection cruise can translate into daily practice using the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia.


Level of Learning: Intermediate | SLP-Clinical Topic

Outstanding Graduate Student Technical Session

Tech Session 4 - The Use of Mental State Verbs by Preschool-Age Children Who Stutter and Their Mothers

Lauren Day, University of Missouri; Lauren Tigner, University of Missouri; Katie Threlkeld, CCC-SLP, University of Missouri; Stacy Wagovich, PhD, University of Missouri

Mental state verbs (MSVs) denote internal cognitive states (e.g., think, believe, remember, understand). They are more abstract than other types of verbs, such as action verbs, and are likely to be embedded in utterances that are more conceptually complex. For example, “She *forgot* [MSV] his name” is more abstract than “She *said* [action] his name”. Logan’s (2015) working model of speech fluency includes the dimension of communicative flexibility – the ability to shift among communicative contexts. In this preliminary study, through analysis of MSVs, we explored one type of communicative flexibility in children who stutter (CWS) and children who do not stutter (CWNS) as they shifted from action-based conversation with their mothers to interaction that emphasized internal mental states. We hypothesized that CWS may be less flexible than peers in shifting from action-focused language to more inward focused language about thoughts and other internal mental states. Through examination of the play-based language samples of 30 CWS and 30 age- and gender-matched CWNS (ages 3;0-5;10) with their mothers, we explored (a) the frequency of MSV use among the groups of children and their mothers, (b) the correspondence between mothers’ use of MSVs and their children’s use, and (c) the proportion of utterances with MSVs that contain stutter-like and other disfluencies. Results will be discussed in relation to the idea that mental state verbs may reveal information about a child’s communicative flexibility in conversation.

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Define and identify mental state verbs and contrast them with mental verbs
  • Summarize the method used in this research to identify mental state verbs in language samples
  • Identify key findings of the study as relates to stuttering in early childhood


Level of Learning: Intermediate | SLP-Educational Topic

Outstanding Undergraduate Technical Session

Tech Session 5 - Segregation: How Redlining Changed School Demographics and Hospital Demographics

Laura Bailey, BS, Maryville University; Sarah Gordon, BA, Maryville University; Andrea Toliver-Smith, PhD, Maryville University

Segregation continues to persist for BIPOC individuals and present challenges in providing optimal education and healthcare to these individuals. This paper introduces current practices of segregation through the history and impact of redlining on schools, healthcare, and health disparities. Redlining, which was developed by the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC), is the practice of denying borrowers access to credit based on the location of properties in minority or economically disadvantaged neighborhoods (NCRC, 2018). In schools, redlining impacts property value which determines the funding and resources provided to school districts. In healthcare, redlining decreases economic stimulus in these communities which leads to overcrowded and underfunded hospitals and other healthcare facilities. As a result, healthcare services are limited in providing access to proper care for individuals who live in redlined zones. This, alongside the economic disparities of these populations, demonstrates how these social factors can lead to increased health risk. These long-term effects of redlining on the health of BIPOC individuals undoubtedly plays a role in the novel Coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19. While clear segregation has been banned, the gray areas of redlining make segregation in communities still possible and a growing concern for healthcare/academic professionals. In order to change current practices of segregation and dismantle its’ future harm, it is important to understand why it has persisted and how it has negatively impact education and health individuals living in the “red zones”.

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Identify effects of Redlining in healthcare Settings.
  • Identify effects of Redlining in educational Settings.
  • Identify biases that are a product of Redlining.
  • Identify Redlining.


Level of Learning: Introductory | Multicultural

Outstanding Graduate Student Technical Session

Tech Session 6 - Motivation and Participant Outcomes in the MU Accent Modification and Pronunciation Program (MU AMP)

Rachel Snyder, BS, University of Missouri; Victoria Specketer, BHS, University of Missouri; Dana Fritz, PhD, University of Missouri

The purpose of this project is to investigate the relationship between motivation and change in sentence-level intelligibility among visiting scholars in the Accent Modification and Pronunciation (AMP) Program at the University of Missouri. Three qualitative surveys were administered at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester to track progress. Questions included information about their enrollment in AMP, how often they used English, and the impact of COVID-19. Attendance and perceptions about the AMP program were monitored. Baseline and endline data were compared using the Sentence Intelligibility Test (SIT) which involved the participants reading semantically unpredictable sentences. The participants’ intelligibility was judged by unfamiliar American listeners who transcribed what they heard from the sentences, from which a percent understandability was calculated. The researchers hypothesized that those who are intrinsically motivated will have a higher change in percent understandability.

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the relationship between participant motivation and change in percent understandability.
  • Identify the participants’ motivations for enrolling in the AMP Program.
  • Identify the impact of COVID-19 on English language learners in the United State.
  • Describe the change in confidence that AMP participants experience when speaking English after completing the program.


Level of Learning: Intermediate | Multicultural

Outstanding Graduate Student Technical Session

Tech Session 7 - The Effects of Chemotherapy on Language When Treating Breast Cancer - WITHDRAWN

Hope Conyers, St. Louis University; Mitzi Brammer, SLPD, CCC-SLP, St. Louis University