Continuing Education Course - Spring

Executive Functions, Literacy, and Oral Language:  Framing the Integrative Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist

April 28, 2017

Williams Center, The State University of New York at Fredonia

The Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences is sponsoring this 6 hour (.6 ASHA CEUs) workshop for teachers, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, and special educators.


Morning Session

Executive Functions:  Integrating Oral Language, Self-Regulation, and Academic Achievement

There are many children whose standardized testing diagnostic data do not predict the difficulties they face every day in school.  Many times, the cause for the unexpected difficulty is weak executive functions.  Children who exhibit difficulties with executive functions have a difficult time adapting to the teaching styles and rules of different teachers, conceptualizing, planning and implementing a research report (and even a simple book report), and performing tasks that have multiple layers (such as spontaneous writing and the need to integrate knowledge in spelling, capitalization/punctuation, sentence structure and handwriting). Some children withdraw and become very cautious learners, others become defiant, and still other children become noncompliant and appear “lazy” or “unmotivated.”  Children who demonstrate difficulties with executive functions often become depressed and/or anxious because they just can’t negotiate their world efficiently. Children who have executive functions difficulties are convinced they are “stupid.”  These children are frequently very bright but often do not recognize the need to use academic/work productivity strategies that can have a positive effect on the quality of their lives.  Often, children with executive functions difficulties become very frustrated because “they can’t do school” despite their ability to understand the concepts taught in the moment they are taught.  This segment of the day-long seminar will present the picture of executive functions from neurobiological, linguistic, academic, and cognitive frameworks and will be geared toward the role of the speech-language-pathologist in identification of, intervention with, and consultation for children who have executive function difficulties in clinical and school-based settings.   Research references and materials references will be provided.

At the completion of this session, the participant will be able to:

  • List the neurobiological substrates associated with executive functions
  • Identify the behaviors associated with children who have executive functions difficulties aligned with the components of executive functions.
  • Design an evaluation protocol that utilizes anecdotal information and objective/standardized testing instruments in the diagnosis of executive functions difficulties from the perspective of a speech-language pathologist
  • Discuss the relationship between executive functions and attention, and the interplay among executive functions, attention, oral language, reading, writing, math, and general school success.
  • The participant will be able to employ strategies in clinical and academic settings, directly with children and indirectly with colleagues, that address executive functions difficulties.

Afternoon Session

Oral Language and Literacy: Dyslexia, Written Language, and Academic Achievement from a Frameworks Perspective

For this segment of the seminar, the participant will use what they learned about neurobiology and executive functions as a backdrop for understanding dyslexia, reading comprehension, written language, and academic content learning.   The session will provide diagnostic information and intervention strategies for dyslexia, reading comprehension, and written language.    The concept of a frameworks approach to teaching and intervention within which, strategies are used to facilitate skill development and content learning. The orientation for services will be presented as opportunities for direct, indirect, collaborative, and consultative, with a focus in Interprofessional Practice (IPP) within a school setting.  Research references, as well as a variety of websites, programs, and materials will be provided to participants.

At the completion of this session, attendees will be able to:

  • List brain structures responsible for the various components of oral language and how those structures are active for reading, writing, and math.
  • Discuss the inter-relationship between the concept of exective functions, attention, oral language, reading, writing, and academic achievement.
  • Implement a reading assessment protocol that is integrated with an oral language diagnostic framework.
  • Understand the concept of a frameworks approach to understanding and teaching children as a direct service and within the auspices of Interprofessional Practice.
  • Utilize their training in oral language to work directly and indirectly with students, as well as work collaboratively or consultatively with colleagues in a clinical or school-based setting.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Joan Mele-McCarthy, CCC-SLP is the Executive Director of The Summit School in Edgewater, MD, an independent school serving bright children with dyslexia and other learning differences.  Prior to this position, Dr. Mele-McCarthy served as Senior Policy Advisor and Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education (ED).  She is a speech-language pathologist, and has developed expertise in theoretical models and practical application of the link between oral language and reading, service delivery models in school settings, and teacher training.  Dr. Mele-McCarthy's professional experiences include private practice, comprehensive assessment, advocacy, public schools, and universities.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) as the Vice President for Governmental Relations and Public Policy and is an advisor to the board for the George Washington University K-12 On-line High School. Prior board work includes the Financial Planning Board and Governmental Relations and Public Policy Board with ASHA, the International Dyslexia Association, the Maryland Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the District of Columbia Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and the Long Island Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  She is an active participant in the professional activities of the Dyslexia Foundation and the Communication Disorders Research Group Schools Liaison Committee.  She has been most recently appointed as the Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on the Implementation of a Dyslexia Education Program (August 2015-December 2016) for the state of Maryland. Her work includes presentation of peer reviewed research-to-practice papers, as well as seminars and workshops locally and nationally. Her publications include articles and book chapters related to policy for NCLB, IDEA, students with disabilities, and ELLs with disabilities. 

Financial -Dr. Joan Mele-McCarthy is the Executive Director of the Summit School in Edgewater, Maryland and will receive an honorarium for the Fredonia CEU conference .

Nonfinancial -Dr. Joan Mele-McCarthy is Chair of the Maryland State Task Force on Dyslexia, and serves on the ASHA Board of Directors, as Vice-President for Governmental Relations and Public Policy. 

In addition, she serves as an advisory role for the Dyslexia Foundation and the board for the George Washington University K-12 On-line High School. 



8:00-8:30 a.m. Registration

8:30-8:45 a.m. Overview of the day

8:45-10:15 a.m. Morning Session -Executive Functions: Integrating Oral Language, Self-Regulation, and Academic Achievement

10:15-10:30 a.m. Break

10:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m. Executive Functions, continued

12:00-1:00 p.m. Lunch

1:00-2:15 p.m. Afternoon Session -Oral Language and Literacy: Dyslexia, Written Language, and Academic Achievement from a Frameworks Perspective

2:15-2:30 p.m. Break

2:30-3:50 p.m. Oral Language and Literacy, continued

3:50-4:00 p.m. Conclusion and questions

Program Completion Requirements: Participants are expected to be present for the entire program. Individuals who are not present for the full program will not be recommended for ASHA CEUs. No partial credit will be provided.

Cost for participation: $110.00 (includes coffee, tea, buffet lunch)

Register Online!

Please mail Purchase Order registrations using the form provided.

ASHA approval emblem
This course is offered for .6 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area)

Parking: The use of Fredonia State's Park and Ride shuttle is encouraged. Handicapped parking as well as limited non-handicapped parking will be available in surrounding parking lots.


Communication Disorders and Sciences Office

W123 Thompson Hall
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3202