New Scientific Findings, Clinical Advances for Speech and Hearing Disorders to Be Presented at ASHA Annual Convention

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With an increasing number of Americans experiencing communication disorders, new research and exciting advances for treating these more than 40 million individuals will be reported at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) 2014 Convention in Orlando, Florida, November 20–22.

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The ASHA Convention will also host TV journalists Bill and Willie Geist, who will receive the 2014 Annie Glenn Award. ASHA awards the “Annie” to a person or people who, like Annie Glenn herself, build awareness about communication disorders.

With an increasing number of Americans experiencing communication disorders, new research and exciting advances for treating these more than 40 million individuals will be reported at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) 2014 Convention in Orlando, Florida, November 20–22.

The premier event for speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists, the 2014 ASHA Convention theme is “Science. Learning. Practice. Generations of Discovery.”

In addition to the more than 2,400 sessions over its 3 days of core programming, the Convention will host its 24th annual Research Symposium, which brings together clinicians and researchers to discuss current research that has significant implications for the study of communication disorders. This year’s focus is “Primary Language Impairment in Children With Concomitant Health Conditions or Nonmainstream Language Backgrounds,” a timely topic given the increasingly diverse U.S. population as well as the growing complexity of diagnosing and treating children who present with multiple health or developmental disorders. Topics will include language impairment in the ADHD context, childhood language development after early cochlear implantation, and development and mechanisms of language impairment in autism spectrum disorder—parallels with other language disorders.

The ASHA Convention will also host TV journalists Bill and Willie Geist, who will receive the 2014 Annie Glenn Award. ASHA awards the “Annie” to a person or people who, like Annie Glenn herself, build awareness about communication disorders. In 2012, longtime CBS News correspondent Bill Geist announced that he was suffering from Parkinson’s, a disorder that—among other effects—can impact speech, voice quality, and swallowing. Bill and Willie Geist recently penned the book “Good Talk, Dad,” a celebration of communication in which they have (often humorous) talks about life that they didn’t have during Willie’s childhood. Annie Glenn and her husband, former Sen. John Glenn, will present the award to the Geists.

Among the 2014 Convention sessions are:

  •     Noise Exposure From Movie Theaters: Is There a Potential for Hearing Loss? (November 20, 11 a.m. ET)—Noise-induced hearing loss starts as a temporary shift in hearing with recovery when away from noise. Over time, recovery is less likely to occur, resulting in permanent loss of hearing. The sound level OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) deems as a causative factor over an 8-hour time period is 90 dBA or a 100% dose. Despite the fact that 90% of the people polled for the study thought the noise levels in the theater were too high, the maximum dose recorded by any movie viewed for this research was little over 7%. The author concluded that it is highly unlikely that movie viewing alone could lead to a temporary shift in hearing. According to the author, few studies—two of which were published—have looked at the noise level in movie theaters to see if it was damaging viewers’ hearing. The author plans to publish findings to contribute to the conversation on this subject matter.
  •     Assessing Bullying in Children Who Stutter (November 20, 3 p.m. ET)—Children who stutter were asked about their experiences with various kinds of bullying and the situations in which they occur. Overall, physical bullying was the least common type to occur. Though the number of reported bullying occurrences was low, the reported impact bullying had on the victims was high, preventing them from participating in certain activities. Bullying is most likely to occur at lunch, on the bus, or at recess—situations that are difficult to monitor. Most children reported that they would like to know how to stop bullying or what to say or do in response to bullying. Few studies have reported on the situations in which bullying occurs, but they have not focused on the impact bullying has on participation levels of children who stutter and the eagerness of children who stutter to know how to respond to and/or stop bullying. The author stated that the findings showcase the need for bullying prevention/intervention to be incorporated in treatment plans for children who stutter, educating children on how to address it, and teaching school personnel when to intervene if they witness bullying.
  •     Effects of Late Diagnosis of Autism in the African American Community? (November 20, 3p.m. ET)—Late diagnosis of autism may negatively impact communication outcomes for the African American child, resulting in longer, more intensive and expensive treatment. In addition, African American children with autism may receive inappropriate treatment due to initial misdiagnosis. This conclusion was reached based on findings in a collection of published research by speech-language pathologists. There is not a significant amount of published research on this topic. According to the author, ongoing research on African American children with autism is needed to enable a greater understanding of autism in the Africa American community and help reduce late diagnosis of autism in African American children.
  •     The Impact of Technology on Play Behaviors in Early Childhood (November 21, 9:30 a.m. ET)—Play is a critical early cognitive skill that contributes to a child’s social and emotional development. As use of tablets and other smart technology skyrockets in young children, the impact of technology on development is still emerging. This research compared social interactions and language skills of children ages 18–36 months from “high technology” and “low technology” use households as they played with both real and digital objects. Few studies have looked at children this young, despite the fact that this age range represents a critical time for social and language development. While some differences were present, the author found all children in the study were socially interactive—even the “infant techies.” The author noted that, although more studies are necessary, the findings show that parents can make smart technology a part of—but not the major part of—a young child’s life.

Note to media: If you are interested in attending the ASHA Convention or arranging an interview with any presenters, please contact Joseph Cerquone at jcerquone(at)asha(dot)org.

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 173,000 audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders. http://www.asha.org/.

View all ASHA press releases at http://www.asha.org/about/news.

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