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Planning Treatment for Social Communication Deficits

presented by Bonnie Brinton & Martin Fujiki

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Considering the complex social communication needs of many children with disabilities, what is the best use of precious clinical resources in intervention? This course will describe a social communication approach to address multiple aspects of social communication simultaneously. We will discuss ways to structure intervention sessions to integrate intervention goals in language processing, pragmatics, and social emotional learning within the same activities. Preliminary evidence on the efficacy of social communication approaches will be discussed to inform intervention planning. Since appropriate social communication is dynamic, measuring progress can be a challenge. A method to track progress in specific contexts will be presented.

Meet Your Instructors

  • Bonnie Brinton, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

    Bonnie Brinton, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, UT. Dr. Brinton has worked as a practicing speech language pathologist in school, clinic, and hospital settings. She has also worked as a research scientist at the University of Kansas, and an associate professor of speech language pathology at the University of Nevada, Reno. At BYU, Dr. Brinton has served as an associate dean in the McKay School of Education, and as Dean of Graduate Studies. Dr. Brinton has chaired the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Committee on Language Learning Disorders, and has served on the program committee for the ASHA convention on multiple occasions. She also served as an associate editor for the journal, Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools from 1990 to 2000. Dr. Brinton, jointly with Martin Fujiki, has received the Karl G. Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award from BYU and the Frank R. Kleffner Clinical Career Award from the Utah Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Brinton is also an ASHA fellow. Dr. Brinton has published over 70 journal articles and book chapters and two books. She is a sought-after lecturer, having been an invited speaker in numerous settings nationally and internationally, including Canada, England, China, and Poland. Her work has focused on the social communication skills of individuals with disabilities, with a particular focus on children with language impairment (LI). Her earlier research examined the pragmatic abilities of children with LI. These studies let to investigations focusing on the social outcomes experienced by these children. Dr. Brinton’s research documented that children with LI had fewer friends, were less accepted by peers, and participated in fewer social interactions than children with typical language skills. Her most recent work has focused on developing interventions to address deficits in social communication in children with a range of language disabilities.

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  • Martin Fujiki, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

    Martin Fujiki, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is professor and chair of the Department of Communication Disorders at Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, Utah. He has practiced in the school setting as well as working as a research scientist at the University of Kansas and an associate professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Fujiki has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, The American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, and Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools. He has also served on the ad hoc committee for language in context of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and on the national advisory board of Pearson Assessment. Dr. Fujiki, jointly with Bonnie Brinton, has received the Karl G. Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award from BYU and the Frank R. Kleffner Clinical Career Award from the Utah Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Fujiki is an ASHA fellow, and in 2015 received Honors of the Association from ASHA. Dr. Fujiki’s work has focused on the interactional skills of children with language impairment. He has authored over 70 publications, most focusing on the social and emotional competence of children with language impairment (LI). Working with Dr. Bonnie Brinton, he has examined the social outcomes experienced by children with LI, documenting that these children have fewer friends, poor peer acceptance, poor self-esteem, and fewer social interactions than typical children. His most recent work has focused on the social cognitive skills of these children, with a particular emphasis on emotional intelligence.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Addressing the Most Important Behaviors

    1. Addressing the Most Important Behaviors

    There are a plethora of potential treatment foci for children with disabilities. It is important to select those treatment targets that will contribute most to improved functioning within the child’s social world.

  2. Structuring Intervention: Plan-Do-Review

    2. Structuring Intervention: Plan-Do-Review

    Clinical resources are often limited, especially in terms of time. A plan-do-review structure can help focus instruction and maximize clinical input to enhance social communication.

  3. Monitoring Performance

    3. Monitoring Performance

    “Does it work?” is the bottom-line consideration for intervention. Evidence demonstrating efficacy of educational programs to enhance social communication in typically developing children is impressive. Research demonstrating efficacy for children with disabilities is preliminary. It is important to understand the factors that contribute to the efficacy of intervention.

  4. Efficacy of a Social Communication Approach

    4. Efficacy of a Social Communication Approach

    Social communication is a complex and dynamic phenomenon. Since appropriate performance may be context dependent, it can be particularly challenging to chart progress and measure growth. A framework will be presented to assess behaviors in context over time.