The Exceptional Child: Empowered!


NOTE: Tracks are listed in webinar descriptions (click arrow in title box to open description)


7:00PM EST | Keynote Address | Every Child is Exceptional! | Sara Rosenfeld Johnson, MS, CCC-SLP -- Founder of TalkTools

TalkTools Founder, Sara Rosenfeld Johnson, will be kicking off our online conference with a discussion on how each child we treat is exceptional and how speech and feeding professionals can find approaches that can work across many diagnoses.

Free and Open to Public -- Reserve Your Seat!

Sara's Bio

Friday, May 08

10:00AM EST | Infant Tongue Tie Impacts and Outcomes: Physical and Emotional Variables of Treatment Success | Chelsea Pinto, DDS


Learn about the possible impacts of tethered oral tissues on feeding, breathing and sleeping patterns in infancy and explore the complexities and variables of treatment. Dr. Pinto will discuss 1) how to effectively communicate with and empower parents 2) the importance of setting realistic expectations regarding procedure, healing and improvements 3) why the creation of a professional support system is so critical in providing a comprehensive treatment approach.

Chelsea's Bio

11:15AM EST | Foundations in Manual Therapy: Voice and Swallowing Disorders | Walt Fritz, PT

This webinar will provide the speech-language pathologist (SLP) and SLPA, as well as PTs, OTs, MTs, and other health professionals with an interest in pathology/dysfunction in the upper thorax and neck regions, a solid grounding in the use of manual therapy for the treatment of voice and swallowing-related disorders. Also covered will be content relating to the mouth, tongue, and chest wall. The evidence and science that explains and validates this work will be reviewed, as well as the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, and corresponding muscle groups it supports. The majority of the course will be spent on supervised hands-on practice to develop comfort and expertise in performing these techniques for patients with specific types of voice disorders, dysphagia, head and neck cancer rehabilitation, and issues surrounding the jaw, mouth, and tongue. Unlike many manual therapy seminars, this work moves beyond narrow tissue-specific-based systems and looks at the cascade of possibilities, from local impact through central nervous system and brain impacts. In keeping with the 3 basic aspects of the evidence-based practice model, all of the work is framed from a patient-led perspective. Course content is appropriate for those with no previous experience using manual therapy, as well as clinicians with manual therapy experience.

Walt's Bio

12:30PM EST | Typical vs. Atypical Orofacial Myofunctional Structures | Kristie Gatto | MS, CCC-SLP, COM®️ 

Normal developmental feeding skills and early signs of feeding/oromyofunctional dysfunction are often difficult to differentiate. Maladaptive muscle movements are observed when a child has changes in their structural or functional patterns as they grow.  Normal feeding skills develop over the first 24 months of life and continue to “fine” tune as the vertical dimension of the orofacial complex grows to full size.   Children with normal changes will exhibit control as new skills are learned and the primitive reflexes integrate into higher skill levels, become under the volitional control of the child, and experiences are provided to the child.  After 2 years in age, normal variations become less and less as the global feeding skills become integrated. Variations are based on the experiences.provided to the child when the structure is intact. This session will focus on the more typical variations between normal and abnormal orofacial features exhibited in the orofacial complex.

Kristie's Bio

2:00PM EST | Jaw Development, Airway and Orthodontics: Case Study | Brian Hockel, DDS

Posture and function of the jaw and mouth muscles will affect facial and jaw development, orthodontic needs, speech capacity, and even the airway. As breathing and speaking are vital to health and personal development, you will learn in this presentation how to optimize your child's potential through addressing the common root causes of speech, orthodontic, and sleep apnea problems.

Brian's Bio

3:30PM EST | Mitigating Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders with Early Intervention | Lori Overland, MS, CCC-SLP, C/NDT, CLC, FOM

This one-hour webinar will provide a framework for understanding normal development of oral structures, reflexes, postural considerations and oral sensory-motor functions. Understanding normal function is the key to recognizing abnormal. This theoretical foundation provides goals for therapeutic interventions designed to mitigate potential orofacial myofunctional disorders through infant feeding therapy.

Lori's Bio

Monday, May 11

11:00AM EST | Clinical Strategies for Childhood Apraxia of Speech with the K-SLP Methods | Nancy Kaufman, MA, CCC-SLP


In this presentation, strategies learned from over 40 years of implementing the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol (K-SLP) will be shared to help those with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) become successful vocal/verbal communicators!

Nancy's Bio

12:30PM EST | Essentials of "r" Remediation | Char Boshart, MA, CCC-SLP


This 1-hour seminar details the research-based components of the /r/ production, how to analyze the child’s “r” efforts, and how to do effective, sequential capability-based strategies to stimulate a good back-up or retroflex /r/. Techniques will be shared to solidify the new production and establish conversational carryover. The information primarily focuses on the cognitively aware upper elementary age child.

Char's Bio

2:00PM EST | Apraxia Isn't the Primary Diagnosis: Where Do I Start? | Renee Roy Hill, MS, CCC-SLP, COM®️


Course Description coming soon!

Renee's Bio

5:00PM EST | Impacts of Lingual Frenectomies | Scott A. Siegel, MD, DDS, FACS, FICS, FAAP, DABOMS


Course Description coming soon!

Scott's Bio

Tuesday, May 12

11:00AM EST | Helping Pediatric Patients Thrive: Improved Feeding, Speaking, and Sleeping After Tongue-Tie Releases | Richard Baxter, DDS


It seems everywhere you turn, parents and professionals are discussing and concerned about tongue and lip-ties. With so many opinions, objections, and success stories, it’s hard to cut through the noise. This evidence-based and clinically informed presentation will provide clarity to the real issues a restricted tongue can cause in pediatric patients. The latest results from our prospective cohort study of children treated for tongue-tie will also be presented. Case studies of various ages, diagnostic criteria, assessment techniques, and treatment recommendations will be discussed in this comprehensive yet concise lecture

Richard's Bio

2:00PM EST | Oral Placement Therapy (OPT) for Clients with a Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy | Sara Rosenfeld Johnson, MS, CCC-SLP

Course Description coming soon!

Sara's Bio

5:00PM EST | Sounds to Conversation | Diane Bahr, MS, CCC-SLP, CIMI


Course Description coming soon!

Diane's Bio

Wednesday, May 13

11:00AM EST | Manual Therapy - How "Hands-on" Helps with Oral Motor Dysfunction | Sharon Vallone, DC, FICCP

This workshop will discuss how altered biomechanics resulting in oral motor dysfunction can be differentiated from compensatory body mechanics as a result of TOTS. It will also describe the role specific manual therapy can play in optimizing function by address overt or compensatory biomechanical dysfunction and optimizing outcomes of other therapeutic interventions.

Sharon's Bio

2:00PM EST | In Plain Sight: "Facing" Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders | Mary Billings, MS, CCC-SLP, COM®️

Orofacial myofunctional disorders are disorders of the face, mouth, lips and/or jaw. They can directly and indirectly affect skeletal growth development, dentofacial development, jaw stability, chewing, normalized swallowing patterns, developing speech patterns and oral hygiene. This course explores the many visual presentations of orofacial myofunctional disorders facially and intraorally while reiterating the importance of comprehensive oral mechanism assessment as part of a differential diagnoses and effective treatment planning. Participants will learn to analyze head and facial features; dental occlusal patterns and recognize other oral anomalies. Participants will distinguish how these signs are often tied to the development of atypical functional patterns and determine appropriate timing and strategies for intervention.

Mary's Bio

3:30PM EST | A Respectful and Practical Approach to Addressing Challenging Behavior | Gregory P. Hanley, Ph.D., BCBA-D


The dignity afforded to persons with autism and the humanity that is associated with attempting to understand why problem behavior is occurring prior to treating it is sometimes lost in behavioral assessment and treatment. Progress towards easily appreciated and generally applicable behavioral assessment and treatment procedures requires a slight shift towards different assumptions, aims, and procedures; these will be highlighted while outcomes are described from practical functional assessment and skill-based treatment processes in which the person with autism was always free to participate in, alter, or opt out of their therapeutic process.

Greg's Bio

Thursday, May 14

11:00AM EST | Pediatric Sleep Disordered Breathing and Maxillofacial Development: The Impact of Oral Motor Development and Tongue Mobility | Soroush Zaghi, MD-ENT

Chronic mouth breathing and low tongue posture in actively growing children is associated with palatal growth restriction, alterations of craniofacial development, altered head posture, attention issues, poor school performance, relapse of orthodontic treatment, and increased risk for obstructive-sleep apnea later in life. This presentation will: (1) provide an overview of the entire spectrum of sleep-related breathing disorders ranging from mouth breathing to upper airway resistance syndrome, snoring, and obstructive sleep apnea in pediatric populations; (2) discuss the impact of mouth breathing, oral motor development, and tongue mobility in the etiology of sleep-disordered breathing, (3) and introduce the role of occupational therapy, myofunctional therapy, and surgical procedures (e.g. frenectomy, tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, turbinate reduction, when indicated) for a multidisciplinary and integrative approach to treatment.

Soroush's Bio

12:30PM EST | Mouth Breathing: Symptoms, Complications, Treatments | Monica Purdy, MA, CCC-SLP

With mindful breathing all the rage, people are becoming more aware of how they breath. But, in our day-to-day hectic lives, we aren't thinking about how and how often we breathe.
We typically breathe in and out of our noses -- but some of us breathe in and out of our mouths. This course will walk participants through common causes and risks associated with mouth breathing. Assessment and treatment techniques will also be covered.

2:00PM EST | How Your Pediatric Provider Works With You: What Are They Thinking?| Martin Kaplan, DDS


Course Description coming soon!

Martin's Bio

3:30PM EST | Speech Clarity in the Down Syndrome Population | Heather Vukelich, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech and feeding development can be challenging for children with Down syndrome, due to various factors, including dysarthria, hypotonia, TOTs, sensory regulation and oral motor development. This webinar will provide techniques and treatment options for speech and feeding professionals working with clients with Down syndrome to help improve oral development, feeding and speech clarity.

Heather's Bio

5:00PM EST | TOTs Ticking Over Time: From Pre- to Post-Op Care Across the Lifespan | Robyn Merkel Walsh, MS, CCC-SLP, COM®️

This webinar will focus on the evolution of TOTs care and the timeline of TOTs signs and symptoms across the lifespan. An overview of the ideal timeline of assessment, pre-op care and the stages of post-operative treatment will be discussed. Structural revision and functional rehabilitation will be stressed as equal parts in the continuum of care. The variations of post-op stretches/aftercare for optimal healing will be compared to neuromuscular re-education for functional remediation.

Robyn's Bio

Friday, May 15

11:00AM EST | Differences Between Breast and Bottle | Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC

Infant anatomy and physiology are adapted for breastfeeding. The mechanics and physiological cost of feeding differ by method, with particular implications for preterm and ill infants. This presentation reviews differences in muscle activation, tongue kinematics, intraoral vacuum requirements, flow characteristics, energy expenditure, and coordination of swallowing and breathing during breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Methods to adapt breastfeeding and bottle feeding for special populations are addressed.

Cathy's Bio

12:30PM EST | Tools, Tips and Tastes: Easy and Fun Strategies for Kids to Learn to Love Vegetables | Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP


Let's create some veggie-love with simple tools, creative tips and fun ways to take a taste! This unique hour includes ten short videos with strategies for parents and professionals that can be applied to other food groups as well. Learn how to keep anxiety low, raise up the fun-factor, and help kids and parents enjoy the journey!

Melanie's Bio

2:00PM EST | Early Intervention Feeding: Coaching Families to Success | April Anderson, MA, CCC-SLP, CLC


In Washington, DC providers are expected to implement the early childhood coaching model as described by Rush and Sheldon (2011). The key concepts of this model focus on growing the capacity of the caregivers through a “coach” and “coachee” dynamic that allows caregivers to more effectively carryover therapy strategies in the child’s natural environment. In feeding therapy in particular, success is seen when families demonstrate confidence, commitment to the goals, and are able to implement strategies across the week. This can reduce the amount of time a child may spend receiving early intervention services. Using this model, providers are able to create a joint plan with strategies to practice between sessions, observe and give feedback on strategies, and offer reflection and problem solving solutions with caregivers. A child eats or drinks several times throughout the day and an ideal mealtime may not fall during the scheduled therapy time. Supporting families through the early childhood coaching model ensures that children are targeting therapy goals across meals.

April's Bio

3:30PM EST | Wound Healing: Factors to Consider for Best Outcomes in Pre- and Post-Frenectomy Care | Sanda Valcu-Pinkerton, COM®️, RDHAP

The course is an accumulation of direct clinical experience by Sanda Valcu Pinkerton while working with over 350 patients with the help of colleagues, patients, and patient family members. Although some valuable wound healing programs already exist, disparities in treatment and recommendations seem to create confusion. This course provides a cohesive understanding of wound healing physiology in correlation with sensory-motor and habit systems. It considers systematic teaching techniques in conjunction with potential missing links.

Sanda's Bio

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