Virtual Webinars and Conferences for SLPs in 2020
By Melissa Wirkus Hagstrom, contributor
Ongoing professional development is a key component in the career of every speech-language pathologist (SLP)—even in a year when all learning has moved to a variety of online formats due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtual webinars in 2020 may look a little different than in-person classes and conferences of the past, but they can be just as robust and may even present some benefits to SLPs that were not available prior to the pandemic.
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Virtual webinars for SLPs
Virtual webinars for speech-language pathologists often include live instruction as well as recorded, ondemand continuing education courses that are needed for license renewals and certain job opportunities.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 211,000 members and affiliates. The group’s members include audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. ASHA offers a full suite of comprehensive professional development courses geared toward these types of healthcare professionals.
ASHA has nine live webinars for SLPs scheduled for the remainder of 2020 that cover several key topics including: “Foundations of Writing for School-Age Children and Adolescents,” scheduled for Sept. 16, and “Best Practices for Assessment & Treatment of Speech Development in Early Intervention” on Oct. 29. These courses are available to both members and non-members of ASHA. For on-demand webinars, ASHA proudly offers over 100 course options for SLPs looking to enrich their career.
Speechpathology.com is another organization that offers live webinars with real-time interaction and learning, as well as a full portfolio of continuing education courses and other video, audio and text courses. They also have a series of virtual conferences and series, with many focusing on highly specialized and complex topics.
The CI2020 Online Conference in partnership with American Cochlear Implant Alliance (ACIA) explores current and emerging topics that significantly impact outcomes for adults and children with cochlear implants and other auditory devices, and SLPs who complete the series can earn up to 13 hours of CE. The sessions are available on demand, with a paid membership.
Although virtual webinars for SLPs offer the freedom and flexibility to attend courses on your schedule, sometimes it’s nice to get out of your pajamas and interact with other SLPs in a safe way. This is where group learning comes in, thanks to a new concept offered by ASHA. According to the organization, “hosting a group webinar is not only a good way to save money, it also provides a great forum for you to network with your colleagues. You can choose to host a live or on-demand webinar, whichever works best for you.”
ASHA’s group registration option allows a group of SLPs, led by a designated group leader, to view a webinar one time, on one connection—thus saving money by splitting the cost. Any number of people may watch and earn ASHA CEUs/professional development hours.
Group learning is an opportunity for SLPs to continue to learn online while also allowing for some social networking and interaction in a safe and professional way.
Online conferences and summits
In late July, the 8th annual SLP Summit, sponsored by SLP Now and SLP Toolkit, was held online. SLPs came together via computer for the 4-day virtual event and were able to earn CEU credits and gather tips and tricks to help them in their everyday work life. This annual summit featured eight speakers and covered relevant and important topics in speech-language pathology.
While ASHA’s large annual conference scheduled for November had to be cancelled, the organization has been hosting a series of online conferences during the pandemic. The next virtual conference is scheduled Sept. 23 - Oct. 5, 2020, on Practical Solutions for Elementary Assessment, Treatment, and Collaboration.
Some academic institutions and specialty organizations are also holding virtual conferences for SLPs and related professionals, including the following:
American Congress of Rehabilitative Medicine Annual Conference, Progress in Rehabilitation Research, Oct. 21-24
Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, Nov. 5–8, 2020.
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