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Course Information:


8:00 AM - 9:00 AM


Speaker Names/Credentials: Rana Ottallah and Marbelly Barahona

Rana Ottallah is the lead Advocate for ASTra, a program of Louisiana Hands. This program

provides Advocacy, Support, and Training to parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children all

over Louisiana. Rana is also a parent guide with GBYS and offers support to families of

Middle East and North Africa backgrounds.


Marbelly Barahona, originally from Caracas-Venezuela, has resided in New Orleans for 30

years. She and her husband, Asahel, have 6 children. Their oldest son is profoundly deaf and

received a cochlear implant at the age of 5. He went through school in mainstream

education classes, graduated high school, served a mission, and is currently attending Utah

Valley University. She is a board member of LA Hands and Voices and a Guide by Your Side

Bilingual Parent Guide. She is a member of the Louisiana Advisory Council for the Early

Identification of Infants as a parent of an oral deaf child. She works part-time for the LA EHDI

Program as a Bilingual Parent Consultant, specifically with Spanish speaking populations and

“lost to follow-up” infants. She is passionate about educating and helping Latino families

across the state become independent and empowered to assist their child.



Title: Hands & Voices Supporting Families of Kids who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing


Description/Abstract:  

Louisiana Hands & Voices is dedicated to supporting families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing in a respectful and non-judgmental manner regarding language opportunities, communication tools or educational approaches. We’re a parent-driven, non-profit organization providing families with the resources, networks, and information to improve communication access and educational outcomes for their children. Our outreach activities, parent/professional collaboration, and advocacy efforts are focused on enabling children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to reach their highest potential. This presentation will provide an overview of Hands & Voices and its Guide By Your Side support services available by trained Parent Guides and Deaf Guides, as well as resources available for families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.


Presentation Length: 1 hour


Financial Disclosures: none


Non-Financial Disclosures: Presenter offered free registration for this event.


Learner Objectives:

  • Participants will Identify population served by Hands & Voices programs

  • Participants will list two types of trained guides that provide services through Guide By Your Side program 

  • Participants will identify the support provided by Parent Guides

  • Participants will identify the support provided by Deaf Guides

  • Participants will locate available resources for families and professionals from the Hands & Voices Headquarter website


9:00 AM - 10:00 AM


Speaker Names/Credentials: Rose Griffin, MA, CCC-SLP, BCBA

Rosemarie Griffin, MA, CCC/SLP BCBA, is an ASHA certIfied Speech- Language Pathologist and Board certified Behavior Analyst. She has over 20 years of experience as a professional working in both the public and private sectors. Rose is the founder of ABA SPEECH. ABA SPEECH offers therapy services, courses, consultations, and products geared towards helping autistic students find their voice. Rose is also the host of the Autism Outreach Podcast, a weekly show all about autism and communication. She is a sought-after speaker who enjoys connecting with audiences at the local, state and national level. Rose is passionate about the mission of ABA SPEECH, which is to help all students become more independent communicators.


Title: The Power of Joint Attention


Description/Abstract:  

In this course participants will learn about the importance of joint attention. Participants will learn about many specific actionable strategies that they can use to embed work on joint attention in their therapy sessions.


Presentation Length: 1 hour


Financial Disclosures: none


Non-Financial Disclosures: Presenter offered free registration for this event.


Learner Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to discuss the importance of joint attention when

  • providing intervention for autistic learners.

  • Participants will be able to list 3 strategies for incorporating work on joint

  • attention during therapy sessions.

  • Participants will be able to state how to write functional goals for targeting joint

  • attention during therapy sessions.


10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Morning Break


10:15 AM - 11:15 AM


Speaker Names/Credentials: Julie Roberts, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCBA-D

Dr. Julie Ray Roberts Obtained her BS and MA (LATech alum), in SLP, and PhD in Special Education. She has spent 20 years focused on innovation in interventions for Autistic and Deaf individuals who struggle to develop functional communication systems. 


Title: AAC Essentials for the SLP


Description/Abstract: 

This beginner course will provide a basic AAC refresher and exploration of modern-day perspectives. Additionally, sign language systems and incorporating them into AAC interventions will be addressed. Finally, a review of futuristic AAC will be discussed.


Presentation Length: 1 hour


Financial Disclosures: none


Non-Financial Disclosures: Presenter offered free registration for this event.


Learner Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to recall examples of low tech, mid tech, and high tech AAC systems.

  • Participants will be able to recall the difference between augmentative communication and alternative communication.

  • Participants will be able to recall 3 different sign systems.

  • Participants will be able to recall 3 different examples of
    modern, futuristic AAC.


11:15 AM - 12:15 PM


Speaker Names/Credentials: Julie Roberts, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCBA-D

Dr. Julie Ray Roberts Obtained her BS and MA (LATech alum), in SLP, and PhD in Special Education. She has spent 20 years focused on innovation in interventions for Autistic and Deaf individuals who struggle to develop functional communication systems. 


Title: Introducing The SVO Method


Description/Abstract:  

This presentation will introduce The SVO Method & the SVO Power app. These tools, the curriculum and app, will be explained. The SVO Method is geared toward Autistic individuals and/or those that have intellectual disability who may not speak, may have speech approximations, or may have clear speech, but little functional language.


More specifically, this program is for those who have trouble moving beyond 1-2 word utterances, those that repeat the same phrase over and over, those that may have echolalia. Challenges observed in this learner profile include a plateau around growing MLU, vocabulary diversity, and verb use.

Presentation Length: 1 hour


Financial Disclosures: yes, intellectual property rights and ownership interest (The SVO Method curriculum and app) 


Non-Financial Disclosures: Presenter offered free registration for this event.


Learner Objectives: 

  • Participants will be able to list 3-5 characteristics of an SVO Method learner profile.

  • Participants will be able to describe the origins of the SVO Method philosophy.

  • Participants will be able to create targets for requesting and labeling.


12:15 PM – 12:45 PM   Lunch


12:45 PM - 1:45 PM


Speaker Names/Credentials: Maria Carratola, MD

Dr. Carratola is a pediatric otolaryngologist at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, LA.

Dr. Carratola trained at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center during pediatric fellowship and

Tulane/Ochsner Medical Centers for residency. Dr. Carratola focuses on airway surgery and

airway reconstruction.


Title: Dysphagia from a Surgeon’s Perspective


Description/Abstract:  

The presentation will be heavily based on case examples that show the surgeon's

contribution to the multidisciplinary team caring for dysphagia patients.


Presentation Length: 1 hour


Financial Disclosures: non


Non-Financial Disclosures: Presenter offered free registration for this event.


Learner Objectives:

  • Learners will identify common otolaryngologic manifestations of dysphagia.
  • Learners will identify patients who would benefit from a referral to an otolaryngologist.

Learners will describe treatment options for patients with anatomic issues causing dysphagia.

1:45 PM – 2:00 PM Afternoon Break

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Speaker Names/Credentials: Lauren Straughan, MA, CCC-SLP

Lauren Straughan, MA, CCC-SLP holds a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology (University of Memphis) and advanced certificate in Pediatric Dysphagia (New York Medical College). She is SOFFI certified and Level 2 SOS provider.  Lauren works for Jefferson Parish Public Schools, Children’s Hospital, and Early Steps, where she specializes in pediatric dysphagia. 

Title: Treatment of Pediatric Dysphagia and Feeding Disorders: An Overview of SOFFI and SOS


Description/Abstract:  

This course will provide an introductory level overview of the treatment programs Supporting Oral Feeding and Fragile Infants (SOFFI) and The SOS Approach to Feeding. 


Presentation Length: 2 hours


Financial Disclosures: none


Non-Financial Disclosures: Presenter offered free registration for this event.


Learner Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to describe the relationship of physiologic homeostasis and stability to successful oral eating.

  • Participants will be able to state 3 interventions utilized in the SOFFI method. 

  • Participants will be able to explain the relevance of classical and operant conditioning to oral eating development.

  • Participants will explain how to utilize the Steps to Eating in order or progress a child’s eating.

  • Participants will be able to create a feeding hierarchy of 5-7 foods, explaining the sensory link between each food. 

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